Sound Transit, other major transit agencies unite in call for federal funding to offset COVID-19 losses and fuel economic recovery

Support will reduce delays to major Sound Transit infrastructure projects that are critical sources of economic stimulus

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Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff today participated in a virtual rally with other national transit leaders who are calling for the next COVID-19 relief package to provide funds for enabling transit to play a critical role in economic recovery. Video of the event is available on YouTube and the text of Rogoff’s remarks is available on Sound Transit’s Platform blog.

The nearly half of commuters to and from downtown Seattle who relied on transit last year are a testament to the importance of investments by Sound Transit, King County Metro Transit and other local partners. 

"Today, commuters need transit service more than ever to reach their jobs at hospitals, airports, manufacturers and numerous other essential services. As virus threats begin to lift, they will need us to return to job sites and attend sporting events, universities, churches and social gatherings. The only way the transit industry will be able to move people and our economy is if the next federal response to COVID-19 is focused on replenishing the revenues that are disappearing all around us. During the last recession, Sound Transit projects were among the only construction efforts hiring tradespeople off the bench. Replenishing our lost revenues will be essential to our again being an engine to help fuel our region’s economic recovery."

The rally coincided with the U.S. Senate returning to Washington, D.C. to debate the next coronavirus relief package. Speakers also jointly sent a letter to Senate leaders highlighting the urgency of further relief beyond earlier CARES Act funding that has been critical for communities around the nation. Last week, the members of the Sound Transit Board of Directors also sent each member of the region’s congressional delegation a letter urging action.

"The House committees have acted but it’s the sound of one hand clapping. We need the Senate to act," Rogoff said. "For those who think this should be a state and local matter, we at Sound Transit get zero dollars from the state."

Through a process called realignment, the Sound Transit Board of Directors will work over the course of the next year to determine which plans and timelines for voter-approved projects will need to change due to lower revenue projections, absent receiving alternative revenue.

Rally participants: 

  • Patrick J. Foye, Chairman and CEO, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
  • Alice N. Bravo, P.E., Director, Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works
  • Phillip A. Washington, CEO, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Floun’say Caver, Ph.D., Acting General Manager and CEO, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
  • Leslie S. Richards, General Manager, Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) 
  • Peter Rogoff, CEO, Sound Transit 
  • Alex Wiggins, CEO, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority 
  • Kevin Corbett, President and CEO, NJ TRANSIT
  • Nathaniel Ford, CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority
  • Paul J. Ballard, CEO and General Manager, Denver Regional Transportation District
  • Robert M. Powers, General Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
  • Randy Clarke, President & CEO, CapitalMetro of Austin, Tex.