City receives $18.3M in CARES Act funds for transit services

A city bus returns from its morning route at the Transit Maintenance Facility on Constellation Road. Gilbert Bernal \ The Signal

Santa Clarita has received a portion of $25 billion in grant funding specific to aiding local governments’ transportation systems serving their communities affected by the COVID-19 crisis, federal transit officials announced Monday. 

The city received $18.3 million as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, signed by President Donald Trump in late March, according to the latest appropriations and allocations from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. 

“This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a prepared statement. 

Full use of the transportation grant designated to Santa Clarita is still in the works, but a portion will be used to offset bus fares, according to city Communications Manager Carrie Lujan. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Santa Clarita Transit operators stopped collecting fares in an effort to help maintain social distancing and TAP sales have also been suspended until further notice. 

In April, the Federal Transit Administration also issued a safety advisory, prompting transit agencies to develop and implement policies and procedures consistent with those required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

That same month, Santa Clarita Transit announced it was doubling down on cleaning procedures, such as cleaning frequently touched surfaces, halted the use of fareboxes and allowed passengers to enter through the rear entrance, as well as blocking off some seats to encourage physical distancing. 
CARES Act funding can be used to cover 100% of costs to enhance policies and procedures regarding cleaning and disinfecting, face coverings and other personal protective equipment, according to Federal Transit.  

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