“It’s time for America to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again with people,” Biden said in his State of the Union address.
Public transit systems straining to win back riders after being crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic are getting a $3.7 billion boost to stay afloat and invest in new fleets of electric buses.
With mask restrictions fading and workers beginning to return to offices, the Biden administration said Monday it was awarding $2.2 billion in coronavirus relief money from the American Rescue Plan to 35 financially strapped transit agencies in 18 states. The money would be used to prop up day-to-day operations, including staffing and payroll as well as cleaning and sanitization to limit the spread of illness in public transportation. A federal mask mandate for public transit remains in effect until at least March 18.
Transit agencies will have until May to apply for the Transportation Department’s infrastructure grants, which will be awarded by fall. About 5% of the money must be used for workforce training to help transit workers prepare for the technological change.
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