By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations

An eight-month congressional log jam on COVID relief is breaking and a $900 billion package is heading to Americans in time for the holidays.

Bipartisan congressional leaders Dec. 20 announced the agreement, which includes:

  • $45 billion for transportation program operational assistance
    • $16 billion for airline and airline contractor payroll support
    • $14 billion for public transportation agencies
    • $10 billion for state departments of transportation
    • $2 billion for airports
    • $2 billion for private motor coach
    • $1 billion for Amtrak
  • A second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for those businesses severely impacted by the pandemic
  • Final FY 2021 appropriations package that will set transportation and other programmatic investment levels for the year and include any supplemental infrastructure resources
  • Water Resources Development Act reauthorization legislation
    • Allows $16 billion in port, waterway and harbor maintenance projects to move forward

“ARTBA members who made thousands of grassroots contacts and participated in hundreds of virtual meetings with elected officials deserve applause for their dogged outreach,” said ARTBA President Dave Bauer. “The inclusion of transportation and, specifically, state department of transportation assistance, in this package demonstrates the value of those outstanding efforts.”  

The $2.4 trillion COVID relief and annual spending package is expected to pass both chambers of Congress Dec. 21 with overwhelming bipartisan support and be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

ARTBA will keep you posted as the process moves forward and further details about the package become available.