Following the announcement of Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) federal funding allocations, the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) surveyed its rural and small-urban transit system members to highlight CRRSAA inequities and communicate operators’ needs moving forward.
CTAA estimates that without additional federal funding many small-urban and rural transit systems will face major service cuts as CARES Act funding dwindles.
Below are key results from the survey:
CTAA's rural and small-urban members have tended to spend down CARES Act funding more slowly than the nation’s largest metropolitan transit properties, but are starting to run out of those funds.
- The average rural transit system leadership is "very concerned" about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local and state economies with an expectation of at least 19 more months of economic hardship at the local level. Rural transit system survey respondents expect to have CARES Act allocations last another 9.6 months.
- The average small-urban transit system leadership is "concerned" about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on state and local funding sources. Small-urban transit responders expect their current CARES Act allocations to last another 13.1 months.
- Only 39 of the nation’s 320 small-urbanized areas (population between 50,000-200,000) received CRRSAA funding. Twenty-eight state departments of transportation received no rural transit funding assistance through CRRSAA.
CTAA's rural and small-urban transit system members report numerous service cuts in the past 10 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet have lost "only" around half of their normal ridership — highlighting how many of these trips are for essential workers and purposes.
- More than two-thirds (68%) of rural system responders reported cutting service in the past 10 months. Twenty-five percent of rural system responders reported adding service during the pandemic to assist with food, meal, and prescription delivery.
- 70% of small-urban transit system responders reported service cuts in the past 10 months.
- Rural transit system responders reported year-to-year ridership loss at 52.2%.
- Small urban transit system responders reported year-to-year ridership loss at 49.02%.
CTAA's rural and small-urban transit system members are actively engaged or engaging with local public health leadership to develop ways to ensure people who are transportation insecure have access to COVID-19 vaccine sites and distribution.
- 44% of rural transit system responders report engaging with public health officials at the local level to assist in a variety of ways with vaccine distribution.
- 28% of small-urban transit system responders report engaging with public health officials at the local level to assist in a variety of ways with vaccine distribution.
- At a time when many CTAA members stand ready to assist with the vitally important role of increasing access to vaccine distribution sites and efforts, many are beginning to run low on the CARES Act funds they received last year and need new emergency funding to continue operating.
The survey received more than 100 responses. View the full list of survey questions.