WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded Minnesota $306,702,378 for public transit infrastructure funding in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted all of Minnesota’s 87 counties and 11 tribes. The CARES Act directs the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to allocate funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus through the existing Urbanized Area Formula Grants Program, Rural Area Formula Grants Program, and the Tribal Transit Formula Grants Program, which provide funding for public transit in cities, rural areas, and tribes. These funds may be used for the operating expenses of transit agencies related to the response to coronavirus, including reimbursement for operating costs to maintain service, lost revenue, the purchase of personal protective equipment, and paying the administrative leave of operations personnel due to reductions in service.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on public transit infrastructure across Minnesota’s urban and rural areas and tribal communities,” Klobuchar said. “This critical investment in our public transit infrastructure will help continue transit services, prevent widespread layoffs of transit workers, and support agency operations during this crisis.”
“Public transit is vital for those who ride it every day and as ridership drops during the coronavirus pandemic, we need to support it,” Smith said. “I’m glad that the Department of Transportation is doing just that. This investment will help Minnesota transit agencies prevent layoffs and purchase personal protective equipment to keep workers safe. It will also help transit continue to operate so Minnesotans can use it to commute, and for essential needs and services like trips to the grocery store. Thanks to public transit workers in Minnesota for all that you do for our community. Please stay safe and healthy.”