CNMI Transit Authority to receive $1M in COVID-19 assistance

Photo from COTA

The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority (COTA) under the Office of the Governor is set to receive over $1 million in Federal Transit Administration grants to assist with response efforts to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Special Assistant for Public Transportation, Alfreda P. Camacho.

This funding will go toward the Transit Authority’s operational expenses, boosting public health and safety efforts on public transit, and allowing for the purchase of personal protective equipment, among other funding uses.

The transit funding will be paid entirely by the federal government, and will not require a local match.

These grants may also be used to support backdated expenses starting from January 20, 2020, which includes operating expenses such as transit maintenance, paying for administrative leave for personnel due to reduced transit services during the pandemic, working capital, in addition to other expenses.

“This funding allows for the sustainability of our transit program while supporting the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force in any way possible. We are very grateful to the U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for their continued support for these much-needed funds to operate in a safe manner that protects passengers and transit employees, most especially during these challenging times for all of us here in the CNMI,” said Camacho.

In a joint statement from Governor Ralph DLG. Torres and Lt. Governor Arnold I. Palacios, they also thanked the FTA for their assistance in this critical time of need. “This additional funding will go a long way in helping ensure that COTA operations can continue to be utilized for any COVID-19 response efforts. We would like to extend our utmost appreciation to our hardworking COTA staff, the Federal Transit Administration, and all of our federal partners for continuing to assist the Commonwealth in our community’s fight against COVID-19.”