Sen. Fetterman introduces bill to strengthen FTA emergency response

U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) joined 14 of his Senate colleagues recently to introduce legislation that will improve the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Emergency Response (ER) program.

The bill would bring the FTA ER program into parity with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) program that provides emergency response for the country’s highways and roads. Called the Transit Emergency Relief Act, it would provide a consistent funding source for FTA emergency response and grant the agency flexibility in how to allocate those funds…

Currently, FTA ER funds take months or years to get to transit operators after natural disasters and other emergencies that affect transit infrastructure, Fetterman said. That can impede the agencies’ ability to respond to the emergencies. Delays are cause by FTA ER funds needing to be authorized by Congress only after a disaster that affects transit infrastructure strikes. The FHWA’s Emergency Relief program, in contrast, can get money where it needs to go within days of a disaster, Fetterman’s office said, because it has a $100 million funding authorization from the Highway Trust Fund.

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