FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Today is “Save Public Transit” day, and industry leaders are shining a light on the financial crisis of public transportation.
Fresno FAX unites with public transportation systems to raise awareness with #SavePublicTransit to ask Congress and the Administration to provide at least $32 billion in emergency funding to help agencies survive the pandemic.
“So, we are spending a lot of money trying to stay safe,” said Gregory Barfield, the Director of Transportation for the City of Fresno.
Back in January, FAX received $32.4 million from the CARES act and spent the entire amount to keep all services running, employees on the payroll, and provide safe and clean riding. Barfield says it’s been a brutal task.
“It’s been a crazy nine months and even with the vaccine now out, it will be many more months until the entire nation is immunized. So, as we come out of this, we want to still be around to carry people to work, to school, to the grocery store that need to get there.”
Before Congress goes on holiday recess, discussion of a coronavirus aid package. Barfield hopes it will contain funding public transportation agencies desperately need.
“So, we’re all hurting and so we’re trying to bring attention to the fact that we’re such a critical need.”
Fresno FAX says ridership is only down 54% and says many of those who use public transportation are essential workers.
“This is not a democrat or a republican thing, this is about carrying people to and from work who are actually also essential workers to get them to where they need to go.”
The campaign, #SavePublicTransit is organized by an international nonprofit — American Public Transportation Association — representing and advocating for all modes of transport.