After receiving nearly $315 million in federal stimulus money during the pandemic, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is expecting no service layoffs, furloughs, or service reductions through 2026. - GCRTA Facebook

After receiving nearly $315 million in federal stimulus money during the pandemic, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is expecting no service layoffs, furloughs, or service reductions through 2026.

GCRTA Facebook

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) expects federal stimulus funding to make up for operating losses the agency incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rajan Gautam, RTA’s secretary treasurer/deputy GM of finance, told the RTA Board of Trustees on Tuesday that the three stimulus packages — totaling $315 million — helped the agency offset a loss of $20 million in operating expenses in 2020 and an additional $50.2 million in 2021. He also said that the funding helped balance a projected loss of $46.8 million in 2022.

Now, with the additional funding, RTA’s projected ending balances would be prioritized to primarily support three areas: the agency’s operating budget, unfunded capital projects, and debt reduction.

“Because we were able to avoid such significant operating losses, RTA’s projected ending balances will be used to support the operating expenses representing 31% of the total, 50% will be used for unfunded capital projects, and 19% for debt reduction,” Gautam told the board.

Here’s the breakdown of the projected ending balances, based on Gautam’s report:

Support of operating budget

  • $98.8 million will ensure:
  • Stability of operations through 2026. (Gautam expects that RTA will not have any staff layoffs, furloughs, or service reductions during this time.)
  • A needed reserve to mitigate economic risks.

Unfunded capital projects

  • $156.2 million will ensure that RTA will:
  • Address projects from RTA’s 10‐year strategic plan and that those projects would be approved by the Board and with community input. (The RTA currently has $344 million in unfunded capital projects.)

Debt reduction

  • Approximately $60 million to be used for debt pay‐off, prompting an average savings of $3.1 million annually through 2026.
  • Last of the bonds will mature in 2030 vs 2039.
  • Debt service savings for nine years would be approximately $126 million.

View the full presentation.

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