House OKs Emergency Aid for Amtrak, Transit

The House of Representatives approved on Friday the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill that contains emergency aid for Amtrak and public transit agencies hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill, which was supported by President Donald Trump and received broad bi-partisan support, contains $25 billion for public transportation agencies, including commuter-rail operators.

That funding will be allocated through formula operating and capital grants.

The stimulus package also contains $1 billion for Amtrak, which has seen steep ridership declines and canceled scores of trains in an effort to stem financial losses.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Amtrak ridership is down 92 percent.

In a unrelated development the Federal Transit Administration said it will extend by 30 days the deadlines for applying for competitive grant program funding.

The extension applies to grant programs now administered by the FTA with active notices of funding opportunities.

FTA also said it is offering flexibility to agencies using existing federal formula funds for emergency-related capital and operating expenses at an increased 80-percent federal share.

Agencies can request relief from federal requirements as needed by making a request through FTA’s emergency relief docket.

The agency cited the pandemic in extending the grant application deadlines.

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