Giving Compass' Take:

• Transit agencies need federal funding relief to help address losses during COVID-19. However, if there are cuts or these requests are denied, it will be a significant loss particularly for BIPOC commuters and essential workers. 

• Can donors play a role in helping support for funding for public transportation? In what other ways can donors help transit agencies mitigate these challenges? 

• Read about the effects of COVID-19 on public transportation in urban areas.

Transit agencies are calling for $32 billion in federal relief funding to mitigate unprecedented losses suffered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. If Congress cannot meet this demand, transit agencies could face service cuts of up to 40%, which would have a "deep and profound" impact on transit access, according to a new TransitCenter study.

The nonprofit used the AllTransit tool to model how a 50% cut to peak service and 30% cut to off-peak service would impact transit access in nine major U.S. cities. The study found more than 2.1 million individuals would lose access to frequent, full-day transit in these cities, with 1.3 million of those riders identifying as Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

The report also highlighted the number of commuters that would lose access to 24-hour transit in applicable cities. Nearly 67,000 commuters would lose access in Chicago, while more than 30,000 commuters and 25,000 commuters would lose access in Philadelphia and New York, respectively.

"Public transportation is a public good that millions of Americans — including many essential workers — rely on every day to get to work ... Yet Congress is letting this public good crumble," said Transportation for America Director Beth Osborne in a statement. "If we want the economy to recovery then we need people who can work be able to get to work."

Read the full article about cuts to transit service by Kristin Musulin at Smart Cities Dive.