The Biden administration and the Department of Transportation on Wednesday announced a more than $20 billion investment in public transit from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the largest-ever investment of its kind in U.S. history.
At a union event on Wednesday, President Joe Biden said that the funding will “create more good union jobs, union products made in America, and reduce pollution at the same time while making it easier and safer for folks to get to work.”
The funding will allow transit agencies to buy new buses and train cars, modernize fleets, add new lines of service, address repair backlogs and transition to clean energy technology. They will also be subject to Buy America requirements, which Biden expanded last month, with the intention of bolstering U.S. manufacturing.
“For much too long our country has been under-investing in transit systems. From big cities to small towns, we've seen the urgent need for major, smart transit investments to connect people to where they need to be,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters in a call Wednesday. “These dollars will build, maintain and expand transit opportunities across the nation from Miami to Missoula, from Alaska to Austin and everywhere in between.”
The funding would come at a critical time for mass transit agencies in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mass transit systems saw significant declines in ridership during the pandemic. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, commuter rail agencies reported an average 79% decline between September 2019 and September 2020.
The investment represents a 58% increase from 2021.
"This is an investment in making your life easier, safer, and less expensive," said Mitch Landrieu, President Biden’s infrastructure czar. "These funds will allow thousands of transit agencies in every state in our nation to make the transit experience better for our communities.”