Letter to Jane Williams, Acting Administrator at the Federal Transit Administration - Representatives Malinowski, Fitzpatrick, Moulton and Bacon Lead Effort to Protect Frontline Transit Workers


By: David McKinley, Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan, Denny Heck, Adam Smith, Pramila Jayapal, Derek Kilmer, Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene, Peter Welch, Gerry Connolly, Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer, Jr., Abigail Spanberger, Donald McEachin, Henry Cuellar, Joaquin Castro, Vicente Gonzalez, Lizzie Fletcher, Steve Cohen, David Cicilline, Mike Doyle, Jr., Conor Lamb, Matt Cartwright, Madeleine Dean, Dwight Evans, Brendan Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Kendra Horn, Tom Cole, Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Joyce Beatty, Brian Higgins, Joe Morelle, John Katko, Anthony Brindisi, Sean Maloney, Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, José Serrano, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat, Jerry Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, Kathleen Rice, Thomas Suozzi, Pete King, Lee Zeldin, Dina Titus, Deb Haaland, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Don Payne, Jr., Bill Pascrell, Jr., Albio Sires, Joshua Gottheimer, Chris Smith, Andy Kim, Jeff Van Drew, Annie Kuster, Chris Pappas, Donald Bacon, Alma Adams, Emanuel Cleaver II, Ilhan Omar, Betty McCollum, Angie Craig, Brenda Lawrence, Rashida Tlaib, Debbie Dingell, Haley Stevens, Andy Levin, Elissa Slotkin, Dan Kildee, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, Anthony Brown, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Bill Keating, Stephen Lynch, Ayanna Pressley, Seth Moulton, Katherine Clark, Joe Kennedy III, Lori Trahan, Jim McGovern, Richard Neal, John Yarmuth, André Carson, Cheri Bustos, Mike Bost, Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Danny Davis, Mike Quigley, Chuy Garcia, Bobby Rush, Hank Johnson, Jr., Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Frederica Wilson, Alcee Hastings, Sr., Kathy Castor, Val Demings, Darren Soto, Eleanor Norton, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, Joe Courtney, John Larson, Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Scott Peters, Alan Lowenthal, Katie Porter, Nanette Barragán, Mark Takano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Gil Cisneros, Linda Sánchez, Grace Napolitano, Tony Cárdenas, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Zoe Lofgren, Eric Swalwell, Barbara Lee, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman, Greg Stanton, Ruben Gallego, Ann Kirkpatrick, Tom O'Halleran, Terri Sewell, Tom Malinowski
Date: April 15, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Acting Administrator Williams:

As you know, Congress appropriated $25 billion in emergency funding in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to ensure Americans--including frontline healthcare workers, law enforcement, first responders, and other safety personnel--do not lose access to reliable transit during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure frontline transit workers have access to personal protective equipment (PPE). We appreciate the work of you and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) staff in adhering to the very tight timeline we provided to get this immediate financial relief to transit agencies across the nation. We also appreciate the FTA's recently updated guidance regarding PPE and safety protections for transit workers. We believe that these recommendations should be improved upon by making them mandatory during this crisis and by taking several more actions to bring FTA's guidance fully in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the brief time since Congress passed this historic funding, we have already seen the tragic death of frontline transit workers as a result of the novel coronavirus. Bus drivers, stations agents, cleaners, and other frontline transit workers are contracting the virus at a rate much higher than the general public. Nationally, at least 60 transit workers have died as a result of COVID-19.

The guidance FTA has issued so far recognizes the importance of PPE and social distancing measures in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. We believe FTA should further update its guidance to the logical next step by working with transit agencies to mandate that:

Buses, trains, streetcars, and worker facilities, including crew rooms, are regularly disinfected.
Agencies are requiring a safe distance between riders and transit operators.
Safety precautions are taken to protect transit workers from touching the same digital screen, keyboard, or fingerprint-scanning device, e.g. for timekeeping purposes.
Brave front line workers are afforded death benefits.
Thank you for your timely attention to this important matter.