Topeka Metro expected to receive federal CARES Act funding

On April 2, 2020, the US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced funding for public transportation systems nationwide through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The total federal funding is $25 billion, with $22.7 billion allocated to large and small urban transits. Topeka Metro, a small urban transit agency, is eligible for funding and is expecting a total of $6.5 million in aid.

Once Topeka Metro’s grant application receives the necessary approvals from the federal agencies involved in the process, the funding will be retroactive to January 20, 2020.

The CARES Act funds will be provided at 100 percent Federal share, with no matching funds required. All transit providers are permitted to use Federal formula funds for capital, operating and other expenses to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19. Operating expenses to maintain transit services, including paying for administrative leave caused by reduced operations, will be eligible for reimbursement.

“The funding that Topeka Metro receives from the CARES Act will be applied toward expenses incurred for increased bus sanitization, personal protective equipment (PPE) and to pay employees who might be furloughed if service is reduced or shut down,” said Topeka Metro General Manager Bob Nugent.

“Topeka Metro implemented free fares and rear boarding starting March 25, 2020, to reduce contact between operators and passengers, so any lost revenue from that move would also be covered through the CARES Act.”