The Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority has been awarded more than $6.8 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, according to an announcement Monday.
Federal Transit Administration funding will be provided at a 100% federal share, with no local match required, and will be available to support capital, operating and other expenses related to COVID-19, a news release stated.
“Funding from the CARES Act will allow Wave Transit access to valuable financial resources as the authority responds to the novel coronavirus pandemic,” stated Albert Eby, executive director of the transportation authority, in the release.
Wave Transit has maintained transit service throughout the declared state of emergency, the release stated, to ensure access to essential businesses and medical facilities.
“CARES Act funding will help offset increased costs to ensure that Wave buses and vans are sanitized and cleaned in accordance with CDC recommendations,” Eby stated in the release.
Additionally, Eby said, “lost revenue from providing fare-free service to promote social distancing and reductions in revenue contracts will be reduced by the CARES Act.”
The allocation allows Wave Transit to finish its current fiscal year without additional local taxpayer subsidies, the release stated.
Wave had previously been dealing with a budget shortfall
"The FTA Emergency relief docket released March 13, 2020, and CARES Act funding, both retroactive to January 20, 2020, will eliminate any budget deficits in FY 2020," Eby said in an email Monday. "In addition to increased funding, the two changes will allow allocation of federal funding at either a higher percentage or 100%. Both are expected to assist with the COVID-19 response in FY 2021 and possibly beyond."
According to the release, "It will also offset expenses incurred by the Authority in future fiscal years as the region recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic."