COVID-19 Relief Package Includes Billions For Transportation Sector
All right how often did you fly. Or maybe the trainer buster in the pandemic. Yeah the transportation sector has been hit hard but anyone who rides in trains planes or automobile should benefit from the one point nine trillion dollar cove relief package. Npr's david schaper reports. It was a year ago this week. The us what unlocked down highways and airports were suddenly almost deserted. People travelling overseas scrambled to get flights home at mass transit. Trains ran nearly empty in the virginia. Suburbs of washington. Dc forty six year old. Sandra vigil had been driving buses packed. with sixty. to seventy people are more. We ended up taking towards the end of march. He was like one two people per ride. If you had any people at all last march twenty ninth vigil says she about ninety five percent of her loudon county. Transit co workers were furloughed. Her's lasted four and a half months and unemployment wasn't enough to make ends meet. A lot of fail behind are not rental car payments. Because he was either eating or paint a car or paying the rent and thing they lakeville transit systems across the country so ridership plummet ninety percent or more in revenue fell with it yet. Mass transit is essential especially for many low wage workers. Again bus driver. Sandra vigil in order to keep the buses running and to keep us working. We needed this money. The relief bill includes thirty billion dollars for transit. It also includes one point seven billion dollars for amtrak enough to bring twelve hundred furloughed employees back to work and restore daily service on long distance routes and there's funding to help states continue fixing crumbling roads and bridges offsetting. They're lost gas tax revenue as for airlines. I have fantastic news year. That's american airline ceo. Doug parker in a video message to employees about the plan which includes another fourteen billion dollars payroll support. That's good news for the thirteen thousand american employees who were facing furloughs april. First so if you have one of those worn out notices we sit out in february. Tear it up. There aren't going to be any furloughs at american airlines in april and with vaccinations on the rise. Hopefully never again. Ceo parker says the last three weeks have been the airlines best. Since the pandemic hit with bookings and passenger volumes up that's happening at other airlines too so much so that after months of hemorrhaging tens of millions of dollars a day the ceo's of delta and united now expect to reduce their daily cash. Burn two zero this month or next while southwest is on track to break even by june. Of course that's relatively easy to do. When tax payers are essentially covering much of your payroll airlines have now received more than fifty billion dollars in federal payroll grants since the start of the pandemic. This was hugely important. And as a pilot for american airlines at spokesman for the pilot's union. The last thing i wanted to be is on our heels when everybody was ready to get back. Flying tiger says if pilots had been furloughed. They need weeks. If not months of training before being able to fly passengers again. You do not want to be staring at the recovery and turning around and seeing the flight deck empty. Because you weren't able to train. The pilots quickly. Enough joe sweet. Herman transportation professor at chicago's depaul university. Says this government aid is crucial is pretty clear that the airlines were such a desire straight federal assistance and a big way we would have lost an airliner to sweden and says the federal aid helps airlines amtrak transit agencies and highway departments continue critical operations while adapting to a post covid world a world that will likely lead to more operational changes in the near.