U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a $513.6 million award of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation (Metra).
American Rescue Plan transit funds are intended to help transit agencies around the country maintain service and keep workers on the payroll as communities continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Metra employs approximately 2,600 workers who provided nearly 17 million trips throughout the Chicago metro area in 2020.
“Public transportation has helped people reach their jobs at hospitals, grocery stores, ports, and more throughout this pandemic,” said Buttigieg. “This funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will help keep Metra service running, protect transit employees from layoffs, and ensure people can get where they need to go.”
The ARP funds will allow Metra to continue providing a low-carbon transportation service critical to the region’s 8.6 million residents.
“While intercity transit ridership was hit hard by the pandemic, commuter rail also felt a tremendous impact,” said Nuria Fernandez, FTA Administrator. “Helping keep Metra and other commuter railroads on track, while ridership recovers, is of critical importance to the communities that are connected by the rails that Metra travels. Many people who live in communities outside downtown Chicago rely on Metra to visit friends and families, to get to work, to see their doctor and other important parts of everyday life. The American Rescue Plan will help make sure that Metra is there to serve their needs.”
This funding is part of more than $30 billion for public transportation in the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Biden last March. The funding comes from the $26.6 billion allocated by statutory formulas to urban and rural areas, Tribal governments, and for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities.
The Act also included $2.2 billion for additional transit pandemic-associated need, which will be awarded by FTA later this year. No local share is required for this funding.
To date, FTA has awarded more than $57.6 billion in COVID-relief funding to transit agencies nationwide.