Cleveland RTA to Get $111M in CARES Aid

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will receive $111 million in emergency federal aid from the CARES Act.

In a news release, the agency said the money will help make up for lost fare revenue and sales tax receipts.

At a meeting of its trustees on Tuesday, RTA Secretary-Treasurer Floun’say Caver said the agency expects to lose $91 million in sales tax revenue this year because of an economic downturn triggered in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RTA expects to lose $22 million in fare revenue. Caver said ridership has plunged by 70 percent.

For its 2020 budget, RTA expects a $113 million shortfall, most of which will be made up by the CARES Act funding.

Caver told the trustees that the agency expects to save $22.7 million in expenses due largely to a 15 percent cut in bus and rail service.

He said that includes salaries, fuel and supplies. However, RTA will incur an additional expense of $2.5 million in salaries and supplies for disinfecting transit vehicles and stations potentially contaminated by the virus as well as IT equipment needed to allow some employees to work from home.

In a news release, RTA said its March 2020 revenue fell by 21 percent compared with March 2019.

Because there is a three-month lag between sales tax revenue collection and when it is apportioned to RTA, the full impact of COVID-19 on sales tax will not be known until summer 2020 when RTA receives tax proceeds relating to March 2020 business activity.

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