Let Congress know transportation
is vital to the nation’s recovery
Congress will be meeting again today to hammer out an economic relief package that has positive potential for states’ and the nation’s transportation networks severely impacted by the corona virus outbreak. The MBTA staff and board of directors urges you to contact Maine’s Congressional delegation and urge them to support a strong and comprehensive economic stimulus that includes relief for transportation, as well as small businesses, individuals and families.
The chief message we would like to send is that maintaining our state and nation’s transportation networks – roads, bridges, transit, rail, marine and air – and supporting the nation’s small employers will be essential to our ability to recover from this crisis.
FYI, here is the ARTBA analysis of the most recent version of the Senate bill, which contains significant relief for small business, public transit and aviation:
- $10 billion to be distributed through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to support airports that have experienced a precipitous decrease in passenger travel since the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding includes $2 billion, with 100 percent federal share, for traditional AIP capital investment construction projects and $100 million in aid for general aviation airports.
- Budgetary provision that would deem all future expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) as “off-budget” or “mandatory” spending. This would make it easier to spend down the $9 billion surplus of the HMTF and ensure future revenues are invested in port, harbor and waterway infrastructure projects in a timely manner.
- Over $21 billion distributed for hard hit public transit programs, including $16 billion for urbanized area public transit formula grants and $4 billion for rural areas mass transit formula grants. This provision also includes $492 million for the “Northeast Corridor” Amtrak network and $526 million for the national Amtrak network.
Other provisions of interest to our members:
- $349 billion to help businesses with less than 500 employees avert layoffs and meet payroll obligations.
- $58 billion in loans and loan guarantees for the airline and air freight industry.
- Suspension of aviation fuel and ticket taxes through the end of 2020.
- Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes from date of enactment of the bill through the end of 2020.
- Half of what’s owed would be paid by the end of 2021 and the remaining by the end of 2022.
- Changes to the treatment of net operating losses and various other tax changes aimed at improving cash flow and liquidity amidst the pandemic.
- Direct payments made to individuals and families in the form of tax rebate checks.
- Other assistance for various industries, including hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
The MBTA staff and board of directors continues to follow this situation and will update our membership as information becomes available.
U.S. Senator Susan Collins
U.S. Senator Angus King
Phone 800-432-1599 | 202-224-5344
U.S. Representative Jared Golden
U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree
Thanks for acting on this and letting your voice be heard. Together we can work to help Maine and our nation meet the challenge of this crisis.