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It’s time to make ‘generational’ investments in transit, Secretary Buttigieg says in Phoenix visit

Valley Metro/Phoenix Transit Bus and Light Rail Central Station

By Paulina Pineda | Arizona Republic

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg discusses public transportation investments during a news conference in downtown Phoenix on July 15, 2021.

A proposed infrastructure package being considered in the U.S. Senate could lead to regional investments in public transit that will better connect residents and boost the local economy, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg joined Arizona congressional leaders, mayors from across the Valley and transportation officials in Phoenix on Thursday to build support for the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.

He said federal relief aid helped sustain transit systems during the COVID-19 pandemic but as ridership and revenues bounce back it’s time to make “generational” investments in transit. The infrastructure plan would do that, he said.

Nearly a half-billion dollars in federal COVID-19 relief has funneled to Valley Metro, Phoenix and other transit operators in the Valley, helping to offset budget deficits from reduced ridership and fare collection and increased costs because of new safety measures. But the funding doesn’t cover capital expenses.

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