Wyden, Merkley Announce $15.6 Million in Federal COVID-19 Funds for Salem Area Mass Transit

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Salem Area Mass Transit District will receive more than $15.6 million to support operations and other costs during the COVID-19 crisis.

The funding is authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that Congress passed in March.

“Oregonians depending on mass transit need public transportation during COVID-19 and beyond for commuting to their jobs, traveling to the grocery store and more,” Wyden said. “This federal grant for the Salem area will support the essential services done by mass transit workers during this public health and economic crisis, and I’ll keep working to ensure Oregonians can count on access to mass transit throughout our state.” 

“Families throughout Oregon have long relied on their local public transportation systems to run essential errands and commute to school and work,” said Merkley. “The coronavirus pandemic has only made those services and the work of our dedicated transit professionals more important. I’m pleased that federal funding is making its way to Salem to help make that continued work possible. I will continue to use my role as the only Oregon Democrat on the Senate’s funding committee to do all I can to secure additional resources for transit districts across Oregon as we grapple with this ongoing crisis.” 

The Salem Area Mass Transit District’s $15,668,434 award from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will support operating, administrative, and preventive maintenance costs in order to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

According to the FTA, operating costs will include direct and contracted operations, salaries, wages, administrative leave, signage and printed materials for public notice/public awareness, the purchase and installation of equipment to keep drivers safe, and purchase of disinfecting supplies and services for buses, bus stops, and transit stations.

“We are grateful to our federal delegation for their extraordinary support and substantial investment in our recovery from this pandemic,” said Ian Davidson, president of the Salem Area Mass Transit District board of directors. “As public transportation providers, we are the guardians of mobility and this grant will ensure we can continue to provide this essential community service now and into the future.”