XENIA — The Greene County Transit Board will receive one share of $47.1 million in federal funding to Ohio as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced May 11 that it would award the grant monies to five transit providers in the state. President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act on March 27.
The local transit board, which operates Greene CATS Public Transit, will receive $4.6 million to fund operating, administrative, preventive maintenance, and other expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
According to Greene CATS Executive Director Ken Collier, the funding will allow the transit system to continue providing current level of services to county residents well into 2021.
“It has been important to continue operating so that Greene CATS can provide transportation to workers of grocery stores, nursing homes, and other essential businesses,” Collier said by email Monday. “Also for riders who need critical medical care such as dialysis treatments.”
Collier said the grant will be used to pay for operational costs such as driver, dispatcher, and scheduler salaries, fuel, and preventative maintenance of vehicles.
As noted in a resolution passed at the April 29 board meeting, the board anticipates significant reductions in revenue from fares, contract service, and the Ohio Department of Transit Urban Transit Program, which — without additional funding — would require significant reduction in transit service.
“This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a release.
Other transit systems in Summit County, Stark County, Lake County and Richland County will receive the other shares of the funding.
“We know many of our nation’s public transportation systems are facing extraordinary challenges and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “These federal funds will support operating assistance to transit agencies of all sizes providing essential travel and supporting transit workers across the country who are unable to work because of the public health emergency.”
In addition to the CARES Act funding, FTA issued a Safety Advisory that prompts transit agencies to develop and implement policies and procedures regarding face coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, physical separation, and hand hygiene consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance. CARES Act funding can be used to cover 100 percent of these costs.
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