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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 FAQs for Transit Providers

FAQs Last Updated: May 20, 2020 3:30 PM

COVID-19 FAQs for Passengers

Public Transit COVID-19 Updates

May 7, 2020

The ODOT Public Transportation Division (PTD) has successfully secured a supply of protective cloth face coverings through Oregon's Emergency Coordination Center. These coverings are not medical grade surgical or N95 masks, such as those used by healthcare professionals; however, they are useful as protection against the spread of the coronavirus and may be washed for repeated use.

PTD will be providing these face coverings to public transportation providers across Oregon, free of charge. Distribution methods and recipients are at each agency's discretion. We are prioritizing delivery to rural agencies, as supply options may be limited in those areas.  Once initial rural orders are filled, additional requests will be considered depending on the remaining supply.  There is a limit of 200 per agency at a time. 

To indicate your interest in obtaining a supply of face coverings, please complete the order form located here: Face Covering Order Form and submit it to PTD for processing.

We will arrange delivery to the address provided on the form. Delivery may take up to two weeks from PTD's receipt of the order form. In the event that an order cannot be filled, PTD will contact the requestor immediately.

We are very interested in keeping bus drivers, staff that routinely interact with the public, and passengers healthy during this pandemic. Providing these face coverings is just one of many measures we are all taking during this time.


May 4, 2020

FTA is pleased to share this thank you video from Secretary Elaine L. Chao to the thousands of public transit employees that are still on the job in communities all across the country.  Transit employees represent critical infrastructure workers responsible for transporting police, doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks and other essential workers to and from work every day.  Many public transit employees are making incredible sacrifices to ensure that America keeps moving during this incredibly difficult time.   

We sincerely appreciate all that they do.

With Appreciation,

K. Jane Williams
Acting Administrator
Federal Transit Administration


April 2, 2020

This morning the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released apportionment tables for the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act" or “CARES Act." This legislation includes provisions for new transit funding to assist providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding package is the largest transit appropriation in history and will benefit recipients of Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grants and Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas.

Details on apportionments to Oregon are listed below. Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas funds will be distributed by the Oregon Department of Transportation to subrecipients of the 5311 program. More details about this distribution will be forthcoming in a separate communication early next week that will include the application process and schedule. Although the timing of funding availability is contingent on grant review and approvals by FTA, ODOT hopes to make funds available to our Section 5311 sub-recipients by late May.  

Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grants and Section 5311(c) Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Formula Grants will both be administered directly between the FTA and direct recipients. We encourage direct recipients to work with their FTA contacts for details on the obligation and timing of disbursement of these funds.

Administered by ODOT:

Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas: $42,686,023

Directly Administered between FTA and Recipients:

Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grants:

  • Large Urban:
    • Portland: $176,302,899[i]
    • Eugene: $25,533,427
    • Salem: $15,668,434
  • Small Urban:
    • Albany: $2,815,285
    • Bend: $3,871,978
    • Corvallis: $7,354,971
    • Grants Pass: $2,300,237
    • Longview, WA-OR: $136,724[ii]
    • Medford: $7,711,666
    • Walla-Walla, WA-OR: $647,389[iii]

5311(c) Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Formula Grants:

  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians: $65,472
  • Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon: $103,788
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation: $469,532
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs: $69,237
  • Klamath Tribes: $99,520

Additionally, the FTA released an updated FAQ about CARES Act funding, that is available at: https://www.transit.dot.gov/frequently-asked-questions-fta-grantees-regarding-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19#CARES

Resources

American Public Transportation Association:  https://www.apta.com/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.coronavirus.gov/

FTA:  https://www.transit.dot.gov/coronavirus

National RTAP:  http://nationalrtap.org/Resource-Center/Advanced-Search/fid/1082

ODOT COVID-19 Page:  https://www.oregon.gov/odot/pages/incident.aspx

ODOT PTD COVID-19 Page:  https://www.oregon.gov/odot/RPTD/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Tax Foundation: https://files.taxfoundation.org/20200325223111/FINAL-FINAL-CARES-ACT.pdf

[i] This is the Oregon portion of the Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan Area allocation.

[ii] This is the Oregon portion of the bi-state urbanized area allocation.

[iii] This is the Oregon portion of the bi-state urbanized area allocation.


March 30, 2020

In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, most Oregon transit providers are adjusting their services and schedules frequently, and quickly.  Under an ODOT agreement for GTFS creation and maintenance, our vendor – Trillium Solutions - is ready to help agencies update service and schedule disruptions in Google Maps and other trip planning apps.  (There are no new costs for transit providers.)

Trillium will quickly post temporary service changes to your GTFS feeds to ensure your riders are getting current and accurate information.  Additionally, they have offered to post Service Alerts which can flag routes that are now operating reduced, or no, service.  For providers who are not currently purchasing this service, there are no additional costs.

Please send your current schedule, and all future changes, to support@trilliumtransit.com so Trillium can distribute your service changes as soon as possible.  Please also continue to send additional updates as you make them.

*ODOT contracts directly with Trillium Solutions to maintain and update GTFS for Oregon transit providers.

Please contact Sarah Hackett with any questions (503-986-6579 or sarah.i.hackett@odot.state.or.us.)



March 27, 2020

First and foremost, thank you for your efforts to keep your staff and passengers safe as you connect people to critical services. And thank you for your patience as we work to stay current and share information.

In case you missed them, here are some highlights from last week with the most recent information listed and linked to first:

  • The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides new Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5307 and 5311 funding to assist providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, was signed into law on Friday, March 27. See ODOT Public Transportation Division’s latest communication on distributing these funds here.
  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao recently announced that the deadlines for several FTA competitive grant programs will be extended by 30 days. The Extension applies to grant programs with active FTA Notices of Funding Opportunities and includes:
  • The Public Transportation Division’s COVID 19 page now includes two sets of Frequently Asked Questions, one for public transportation providers and one for passengers. This information is available to use when responding to inquiries from the public, elected officials, or staff.


March 17, 2020

On March 13, 2020, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced increased flexibility to help transit agencies respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in states where the Governor has declared an emergency. Since Oregon’s Governor has declared a state of emergency, these measures apply to transit agencies in the state.

Expanded eligibility for federal assistance during this time includes allowing subrecipients of Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas and Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program funding to use operating funds for COVID-19-related expenses “…to protect the health and safety of their riders and their workforce”. Eligible activities include:

“. . . emergency protective measures to eliminate or lessen threats to public health and safety, such as cleaning/sanitizing of rolling stock, stations, bus shelters, etc.; placing hand sanitizer dispensers in high traffic areas; and providing personal protective equipment as appropriate.” Source: FTA

Additionally, the announcement allows all transit providers in states where the Governor has declared an emergency related to COVID-19 to use their federal formula funds for operating expenses in addition to capital expenses and permits operating expenses to be covered at an 80 percent federal share rather than 50 percent.

Note: The ODOT Public Transportation Division (PTD) is clarifying with FTA whether transit providers may use the sliding scale rate of 89.73 percent rather than the stated 80 percent rate in the announcement. We will update this guidance as we receive that clarification.

Furthermore, 5307 and 5311 recipients are eligible to request temporary relief from specific federal requirements under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53 as well as any non-statutory FTA requirements and detailed instructions can be found on the regulations web page.

Some examples of requirements that could be temporarily relieved in response to this emergency include expansion of the use of transit assets to respond to the emergency outside of the FTA definition of incidental use (e.g., delivering food to housebound individuals) or public notices of scheduled changes.

In response to this announcement, RPTD is taking steps to make the more favorable match rate available to our subrecipients and gathering information regarding possible waivers.

More detailed information about both of these items is included in the full communication document.


March 13, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions from FTA Grantees Regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

These FAQs provide clarity regarding how COVID-19 preparations impact certain FTA requirements. They also contain recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help grantees and subgrantees prepare for COVID-19.

As part of our effort to support a coordinated DOT approach to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), FTA has created a FTAresponse@dot.gov email account to receive all stakeholder questions on the topic.


March 12, 2020

State of Oregon - Updated Mitigation Measures on Coronavirus Response

Pursuant to directives from Governor Brown, the State of Oregon is issuing the following guidance, with the primary goal of slowing transmission of the coronavirus in Oregon in order to protect the most vulnerable Oregonians, and to protect our state’s health care system capacity. This guidance follows updated guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released March 10, 2020, and the World Health Organization’s designation of COVID-19 as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Transit-related Recommendations

Individuals and entities providing transit services are recommended to:

  • Post or play reminders to stay home when sick;
  • Encourage individual to travel only when essential;
  • Avoid crowding, and encourage social distancing;
  • Increase cleaning.
Ride shares are encouraged to clean regularly and have windows down, when
possible.

Here is the full updated mitigation measures on Coronavirus response.


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