CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada has received nearly $22 million in rural transit relief funding following Congress’ passage of the CARES Act. This is in addition to transit funding dedicated to the state’s metropolitan transit services.
The Federal Transit Administration recently announced appropriations of $25 billion in national transit relief funding. This includes $1.8 billion to rural transit under the Federal Grant Transportation Funds for Rural Areas (5311 funds). In Nevada, those rural transit funds are administered by the Nevada Department of Transportation.
NDOT has notified its 17 current subrecipients of these rural transit funds that all operating and maintenance expenses incurred from March 1, 2020 through the end of the federal fiscal year will be reimbursed 100% through federal funds. This will relieve the burden on local agencies, which typically provide matching funds, amid an anticipated significant drop in sales tax revenue. While the relief funds are meant to primarily cover operating expenses, preventive maintenance and other capital expenses are also eligible for reimbursement. With no expiration currently in place for CARES Act funding, NDOT intends to continue to award this relief funding through federal fiscal year 2021 and beyond until all funds are expended. While the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown, this relief funding will provide some certainty that transit services can continue.
Nevada’s rural transit operators continue to provide essential services throughout the statewide stay at home directive, although many now operate on a reduced schedule. Each year, NDOT utilizes approximately $10 million in Federal Transit Administration funds to support local transit operations, including the purchase of buses and other vehicles, modifications to facilities, and mobility management programs. The services are operated throughout Nevada, many of which provide access for the disabled, the elderly, and those needing transportation to and from employment, medical treatment and more. Trips are frequently provided from the rural areas, where resources are scarce, to larger, more urban areas where additional services are offered. Access to healthcare, shopping, and other services is determined at the local level and NDOT does not determine days or hours of operation.
For more information on how the CARES Act impacts transit in rural parts of Nevada, contact NDOT Transit Program Manager, Graham Dollarhide, via e-mail at email@example.com.