An over $20 million grant has been awarded to Santa Clarita Transit for the agency’s response to COVID-19, officials said.
The grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is part of $25 trillion in funding offered by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed by President Donald J. Trump on March 27.
“During these trying times, these grant funds will allow Santa Clarita Transit to continue to provide reliable transportation to the community,” said Adrian Aguilar, Santa Clarita Transit, manager.
A portion of these funds are already being put to use to provide free rides to all passengers, according to Aguilar.
“Not only does this cut the cost of their daily commute, it also increases safety by eliminating the need to deposit the fare in the farebox, which is next to the driver,” Aguilar said. “This allows for riders and drivers to maintain the mandated six-feet of social distancing.”
In addition to the CARES Act funding, FTA issued a Safety Advisory that prompts transit agencies to develop and implement policies and procedures regarding face coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, physical separation, and hand hygiene consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance.
CARES Act funding can be used to cover 100 percent of these costs, according to the FTA.
“This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
This funding comes after multiple Santa Clarita Transit employees have died after contracting COVID-19.
The exact number of drivers with COVID-19 is not being released due to privacy, according to Jeff Womack, chief marketing officer for the company that operates the bus system, MV Transportation.
MV Transportation is continuing to follow its protocol of notifying employees who were in close contact with these individuals and asking them to self-quarantine for 14 days, according to Womack.
All vehicles driven by these individuals, workspaces and other areas of the operation have received a deep cleaning – in addition to their normal at-least-daily deep cleaning of vehicles and facilities, according to MV Transportation.
“We know many of our nation’s public transportation systems are facing extraordinary challenges and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “These federal funds will support operating assistance to transit agencies of all sizes providing essential travel and supporting transit workers across the country who are unable to work because of the public health emergency.”Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
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