Media Center

Mar 10

ATU: Relief on the way for transit and working families with American Rescue Plan

With House passage of the bill, President Biden set to sign historic legislation, including $30 billion in critical funding for transit

Silver Spring, MD – With $30 billion in emergency funding for public transit systems, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the largest transit union in North America, praised the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan as President Biden is set to sign the historic legislation into law with the House passage of the bill today.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, transit workers – our members – have been frontline heroes providing critical transportation to keep their communities moving for the millions that rely on public transit to get to work, the grocery store, the doctor and other critical services,” said International John Costa. “We have lost 141 brothers and sisters, with thousands more becoming infected with this deadly virus. This much-needed funding for transit agencies, frontline workers, and riders with help save lives.”

With ridership at a fraction of normal levels and sales tax revenue generated by local businesses, and previous relief funding dwindling, transit agencies have already threatened to lay off frontline workers and cut service without adequate funding.

“To the transit agencies who are threatening layoffs and service cuts, we know you’re hurting, but help is on the way,” said Costa.  “This funding will provide a boost to allow transit agencies to stay afloat, keep critical service running, avoid layoffs. and provide workers and riders with the protections they need to stay safe.”

The bill also provides critical relief for American families most in need, including increased unemployment insurance (UI) for laid-off workers. The extended UI benefits will guarantee an extra $300 a week until September for struggling Americans.

Also included in the bill are direct payments of $1,400 per adult and child dependents. Eligibility will also be expanded to adult dependents that were left out of previous rounds of relief, including around 13.5 million college students, older adults, and children of all ages with certain disabilities. These payments will help hard-hit households cover costs to buy food, pay the rent and spend money at small local businesses in their communities to stimulate the economy.

“We applaud President Biden and the Democrats for getting this historic bill passed to deliver immediate and direct relief for the American people," Costa said. "This funding for transit, vaccine distribution, extended unemployment benefits, and stimulus checks will help build a stronger, more just economy and continue our country on the road to recovery from this devastating pandemic.”