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Feds Send $1B to Mass. Transit Agencies

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority buses at the Springfield Union Station in July 2017. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Newflyer504, licensed under Creative Commons.

Massachusetts transit agencies will get just over $1 billion in emergency funding to help sustain service through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The funding comes from a $25 billion line-item for transit assistance in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,” the bill that quickly moved through Congress two weeks ago and became law on March 27, 2020.

The inclusion of the additional funding in the economic relief package was a major victory for transit advocates, who mobilized quickly after an early draft of a $1 trillion spending plan from Senate Republicans included assistance for airlines, but nothing for transit agencies.

Today’s announcement from the FTA includes spreadsheets that give more detail about how that funding will be divvied up among the nation’s cities. These are the published allocations for urbanized areas in Massachusetts through the FTA’s “section 5307” program, the main source of federal funding for transit operations:

    • $875.9 million for transit agencies in the greater Boston urbanized area, which covers most of the eastern portion of the state and includes the service areas of the MBTA, Lowell RTA, Merrimack Valley RTA, MetroWest Transit Authority, Cape Ann Transit Authority, Brockton Area Transit Authority, and part of the Greater Attleboro Taunton RTA;
    • $36.6 million for the Springfield urbanized area, which covers most of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority’s service area;
    • $36.3 million for the Worcester urbanized area, which is served by the Worcester RTA and an MBTA commuter rail line;
    • $22.8 million for transit in the Massachusetts portion of the Providence urban area. This includes Attleboro and Fall River, which are served by the the Greater Attleboro Taunton RTA and the Southeastern RTA, respectively.
    • $11.9 million for the New Bedford area, in the Southeastern RTA;
    • $9.8 million for the Leominster-Fitchburg area, which is generally inside the service area of the Montachusett RTA and also includes the end of the T’s Fitchburg line;
    • $5.7 million for greater Pittsfield in the Berkshire RTA.

Additionally, through a separate program, the FTA will also send Massachusetts $12.6 million in relief funding for rural transit services.

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