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U.S. House panels to vote on $57 billion boost for transportation

David Shepardson
·2 min read

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Two U.S. House panels willvote Wednesday on a plan to provide about $57 billion inassistance to transportation sectors and workers as part of a$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan.

Reuters first reported on Monday many of the details of theplans to provide new assistance to U.S. airlines, transitsystems, airports and passenger railroad Amtrak and create a $3billion program to assist aviation manufacturers with payrollcosts.

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal calls for $30billion for public transit agencies, $14 billion for passengerairlines, $8 billion to U.S. airports and concessionaires, $1billion for airline contractors, $1.5 billion to Amtrak and $3billion for a temporary payroll support program for aerospacemanufacturing, the legislation says.

"This plan takes another critical step toward preventingessential systems from collapsing under the weight of thepandemic and will help to keep millions of Americans out ofunemployment lines," said Representative Peter DeFazio, whochairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committeethat will vote on most of the provisions.

President Joe Biden had proposed just $20 billion forstruggling U.S. transit agencies - and nothing for airlines orairports.

Transit agencies have previously been awarded $39 billion inemergency assistance by Congress. Airports and concessionairespreviously received $12 billion.

The $30 billion for transit includes $26.1 billion in grantsfor transit agencies located in areas with 50,000 or morepeople, $280.9 million for rural transit agencies, $100 millionfor rural intercity bus service and $2.2 billion for theadministration to allocate to transit agencies with greatestneeds.

Democrats rejected a $40 billion request by a grouprepresenting private bus and ferry companies.

U.S. airlines have been awarded $40 billion in payrollsupport since March. The additional $14 billion will keep nearly30,000 airline workers on the job through Sept. 30.

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee willconsider the $14 billion for airline workers and $1 billion forcontractors.

The $3 billion aerospace manufacturing program would providea 50% government subsidy to cover pay, benefits and training foremployees at risk of being furloughed or who were furloughed dueto the pandemic.(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio)