Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

LA Metro Joins Public Transit Coalition Asking Congress For Up To $36 Billion More In Relief Funding

5e7cf43cd474fb0008bed763-eight.jpg
TAP entry at the Pershing Square Metro Station in downtown Los Angeles on March 23, 2020. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)
LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

Earlier this year, Congress passed and President Trump signed the nearly $2 trillion CARES Act to provide economic relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stimulus bill allotted $25 billion in aid for public transit agencies, which experienced plummeting ridership and sales tax revenue amid stay-at-home orders.

Now a national coalition of public transit agencies say they need more money — up to $36 billion in additional federal funding — to stay afloat as coronavirus cases surge both locally and nationally.

The Senate is expected to start debating another pandemic stimulus bill next week, and leaders from both parties have expressed a desire to get it done before Congress recesses next month.

Back in April, L.A. County was allocated more than $1 billion in CARES Act funds to help keep regional public transit moving. That money is being distributed to the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other transit agencies that operate in the county — including LADOT, Foothill Transit, Access Services and Metrolink. L.A. Metro’s board of directors is tasked with dispersing the funds across all agencies.

Support for LAist comes from

L.A. Metro CEO Phil Washington spoke during a live-streamed media briefing Tuesday, noting that the agency expects a $1.8 billion shortfall over the next two fiscal years. He said the agency appreciates the federal dollars received so far, “but we need more in order to keep our county and the city of Los Angeles moving.”

Before the pandemic, L.A. Metro was averaging 1.2 million passenger boardings per day on its system, according to Washington. Right now, ridership is about 550,000 per day “and climbing,” he said, though the agency has projected it could take two years for ridership to return to pre-pandemic levels.

And Metro is in the midst of a massive expansion to nearly double its transit system, funded mostly through sales tax revenue. Roughly half of Metro's annual budget comes from sales tax.

“We have our work cut out for us and we need help from Congress,” Washington said. “We're building, but our loss of sales tax revenue is severely hampering our ability to keep people employed … building the infrastructure for this country.”

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Support for LAist comes from

MORE ON CORONAVIRUS AND PUBLIC TRANSIT: