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Draft COVID-19 Bill Released

March 25, 2020

An agreement was reached on the COVID-19 relief package, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The Senate is expected to vote on it this afternoon and the House will follow in the next day or two.

The bill includes:

Amtrak and Rail Safety – $1.018 billion is available to Amtrak to meet its changing operational needs as a result of significantly reduced passenger rail service and ridership on the Northeast Corridor, state-supported, and long-distance routes related to COVID-19.  This includes direct assistance to states to help them meet their obligations under the FAST Act in order to minimize service impacts on state-supported routes.  The bill also provides $250,000 to the Federal Railroad Administration for safety equipment and assistance to inspectors to help them to rapidly respond to COVID-19 related demands.

Transit Systems – $25 billion is provided to public transit operators to protect public health and safety while ensuring transportation access to jobs, medical treatment, food, and other essential services remain available during the COVID-19 response.  As the revenues that sustain this essential service are severely impacted due to a reduction in fare box revenue and dedicated sales taxes, this increased Federal investment will help to sustain over 430,000 transit jobs and preserve access to our public service and critical workforce that are the backbone of our COVID-19 prevention, response, and recovery efforts.

Thank you to everyone who sent messages of support over the last week.