A group representing U.S. states on Friday asked lawmakers to provide them with at least 150 billion dollars in federal aid to address the coronavirus outbreak.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who are the chair and vice-chair of National Governors Association, said in a letter to lawmakers that giving states aid would allow them to address “unemployment.
“And also minimising the economic impact of business closures, ensuring all students have access to education, meeting the child care and housing needs of residents, and “maintaining public transportation and social welfare programmes.”
States also have asked Congress to increase the federal share of Medicaid costs.
Numerous state and local transportation agencies are seeking emergency government assistance as ridership plummets and tens of millions of Americans work from home.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MTA, which oversees two commuter railroads, subways and buses, this week, sought four billion dollars as ridership has fallen more than 60 per cent on the subways.
MTA said in a letter it has “already committed to finding 2.8 billion dollars in savings over the next several years.
“No agency of our size can find additional billions in savings equivalent to the damages we have and will sustain as a result of this pandemic.
“This is a national disaster that requires a national response.”
New Jersey Transit this week sought a 1.25 billion dollars bailout after reporting a nearly 90 per cent drop-off in ridership.
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District also appealed for emergency funds after ridership declined by 90 per cent.