Congressman Sires Votes For President Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Proposal

Congressman Sires Votes to Advance President Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Proposal out of House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

(Washington, D.C.) — Yesterday, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) voted to advance legislative proposals included in a relief package authorized through budget reconciliation in a House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure markup. The proposal includes nearly $100 billion in support for transportation workers and communities devastated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Specifically the $100 billion includes $30 billion in targeted relief for transit agencies to help with operational expenses such as reimbursement for payroll of public transportation, operating costs to maintain service, the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and pay for administrative leave of operations or contractor personnel due to reductions in service. Additionally, included within the $30 billion are formula-based funds for transit agencies that serve communities of all sizes, discretionary funds to allow the Biden administration to target additional resources to the areas with the greatest need, and grants to ensure the solvency of major capital investments. The proposal also includes much-needed funding of $1.5 billion to keep Amtrak and the Northeast Corridor fully operational through Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 and help it remain viable for future generations.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our nation, the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure took action yesterday by approving much-needed relief for our nation’s transportation sector, its workers, and all who rely on its essential services,” said Rep. Sires. “This proposal, which is part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, includes many important provisions that will help the people of New Jersey’s 8th District. The funds will help Amtrak and transit agencies recall furloughed workers, give workers access to critical PPE, and help FEMA distribute vaccines to more Americans. I am grateful to Chairman DeFazio for his leadership, and the rest of the Committee for advancing this important legislation to aid the American people.”

Additional provisions include: supporting unemployed railroad workers by ensuring they continue to receive parity with regards to unemployment benefits; directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to continue to provide funeral assistance for COVID-related deaths but at the 100 percent federal cost share; providing $8 billion in emergency air for primary airports, non-primary airports, and airport concessions; and establishing a $3 billion temporary payroll support program through the Department of Transportation to eligible U.S. aerospace manufacturing companies.