The following press release was provided by the Office of Missouri Governor Mike Parson.

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced that Missouri is the first state in the nation to receive a federal grant for rural transit as part of national COVID-19 relief efforts.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday announced a $61.7 million grant to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Donald J. Trump on March 27, 2020.

“These funds will provide a needed boost to rural transit systems in Missouri, as many have reduced service due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Governor Parson said. “I want to thank Secretary Chao and our Missouri congressional leaders, Representative Sam Graves and Senators Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt, for their role in obtaining these important funds for our state. This relief will help keep Missouri’s vital rural transit system operating for people who have limited transportation options and need it most.”

The CARES Act provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by COVID-19 and provides emergency appropriations to support Executive Branch agency operations during the pandemic. It includes $25 billion in transit assistance funding to support public transit recipients of urban and rural area funds, with $22.7 billion to large and small urban areas and $2.2 billion to rural areas.

MoDOT will use the funds for operating expenses and capital assistance for 30 Missouri rural agencies, including the Cape Girardeau County Transit Authority; the nonprofit OATS Inc., which operates in 87 Missouri counties; the City of Excelsior Springs; and the New Bourbon Regional Port Authority Ferry Boat Operator. Please see FTA’s apportionment tables for the totals apportioned to each area.

Operating expenses incurred beginning on January 20 are eligible, including operating expenses to maintain transit services as well as payment for administrative leave for transit personnel due to reduced operations during an emergency.

“MoDOT will work closely with rural public transit providers to implement this critical funding. I want to thank my staff for reacting so quickly when the grant availability was announced,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. “The grant application clearly painted a picture of Missouri’s rural transit challenges as a result of the coronavirus, and we are grateful to receive this vital aid.”