U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) announced that, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the already publicly-funded Memphis Area Transit Authority will receive more nearly $36 million in taxpayer money.
This, according to a press release Cohen released late last week.
MATA is Memphis’ public transportation provider.
Cohen’s press release said members of the Federal Transit Administration will disburse the money.
“I know MATA ridership has been hit hard by this pandemic, and the agency is working on an abbreviated Sunday schedule because of reduced ridership,” Cohen said.
“MATA is an essential service in our community, and I’m pleased this timely funding will help MATA be able to sustain and provide its service.”
MATA spokeswoman Nicole C. Lacey told The Tennessee Star in an email Monday that other public transit systems outside of Shelby County will also receive funding. According to an FTA graph, for instance, Knoxville is getting $18 million.
Lacey then referred us to a press release quoting Chief Executive Officer Gary Rosenfeld.
“This infusion of funding comes at the right time since we are continuing to operate reduced levels of service during a time of a loss of ridership,” Rosenfeld said.
“With the support of the federal government and our congressional delegation, this funding will enable MATA to recoup losses that were incurred due to reduction in fare revenues and lost sales tax revenues. This funding also helps us pay for additional expenses such as cleaning, personal protective equipment, etc. due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
FTA officials said in a press release that they would hand out $25 billion in federal money to help the nation’s public transit systems because of COVID-19, again, through The CARE Act.
FTA is allocating $25 billion to recipients of urbanized area and rural area formula funds, with $22.7 billion allocated to large and small urban areas and $2.2 billion allocated to rural areas. Funding will come at a 100 percent federal share, with no local match required, and is available to support capital, operating, and other expenses generally eligible under those programs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, the FTA press release said.
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