With non-essential travel banned in much of the country, transportation providers are feeling the economic crunch during the coronavirus pandemic. The federal stimulus package included funding for many local airports and public transit agencies.
Public transportation is being pinched in multiple ways: Ridership has plummeted, meaning agencies are receiving less in fare revenue. Some bus systems in Oregon have stopped charging fares altogether, so that riders can board through the rear doors. Most systems are partly funded through state and local taxes, and those revenues are also expected to drop.
For publicly owned airports, fewer passengers and fewer flights means less revenue from ticket and landing fees.
The coronavirus stimulus package included money aimed at helping public airports and public transit weather the storm.
For Eugene, it means $25 million for the Lane Transit District and $22 million for the airport.
A total of $140 million was awarded to Oregon airports, though the vast majority of the funding went to the six airports with commercial airline service. Besides Eugene, those airports are in Portland, Medford, Redmond, Pendleton and North Bend.
Public transp0rtation providers that received funding also included the City of Corvallis ($7.4 million) and the City of Albany ($2.8 million). Other transit agencies in the southern Willamette Valley and southwest Oregon received amounts of less than $500,000.