TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — Tompkins County will be receiving over $7 million in federal funding for transportation services impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was originally passed in late March, provides $25 billion to transit agencies to help to prevent, prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced June 24 that the Federal Transit Administration has allocated $7,076,312 in federal funding to support operations, administrative and preventative maintenance costs for transit systems in the county.

“As communities throughout Tompkins County and Ithaca continue to reopen, it’s imperative that they get all the federal tools they need to make the recovery process as quickly and seamless as possible,” Schumer said. “This federal funding will offset the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19 on transit operations in Ithaca and throughout the region and allow Tompkins County to maintain critical services while Upstate New York adjusts to the new normal.”

The funding will be used to offset revenue losses in the county and ensure that transportation services will continue. The Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) bus system has been running throughout the pandemic, but has not been collection a fare since late March. Local officials have also expressed concerns regarding a low census turnout in the county, which could lead to decreased transportation funding.

According to the Federal Transit Administration, areas with a population of 50,000 to 199,999 were allocated $1,770,158,432, which is approximately 7% of the total CARES Act funding for transportation. Ithaca received the second-highest allocated amount in that range in the state. Binghamton received $10,740,911, and Utica received $6,703,973. Elmira, Glens Falls, Kingston, Middletown, Saratoga Springs and Watertown each received approximately $3 million each.

Madison Fernandez

Madison Fernandez is a contributing reporter at the Ithaca Voice. You can reach her by email at mfernandez@ithacavoice.com.