Austin Chamber President & CEO Mike Rollins sent the following letter to the Texas congressional delegation, requesting inclusion of funding for public transit in an emergency response stimulus package:
To our congressional delegation:
On behalf of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and our over 2,000 member businesses, I am writing you today to request support for our transit operator, Capital Metro (CapMetro), within a COVID-19 emergency stimulus package.
Mobility and traffic congestion reduction is one of the Chamber’s top policy priorities. Our region is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country and in order to maintain our competitiveness, we advocate for “across the board” solutions, including public transit. Whether it is major highways, arterials, local roads or bus/train, we work to ensure they all work in concert in order to reduce traffic congestion, improve commute times and enhance our quality of life.
As you know, CapMetro has seen record ridership growth and has had 17 straight months of increased ridership. Since the enactment of containment measures, CapMetro has seen a 50% drop in ridership and its main sources of revenue, fare collection/sales tax, will be severely reduced as we continue to combat this pandemic.
Therefore, we respectfully ask that you and your colleagues support the inclusion of $12.875 billion for public transit in fiscal year 2020 for a COVID-19 emergency response stimulus package. This is vitally important in order to offset the anticipated revenue losses CapMetro will incur.
Thank you for your leadership and service to Texas.
President & CEO
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce