New U.S. transportation chief optimistic about future of journey irrespective of COVID-19

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated Wednesday he was “deeply optimistic” about the foreseeable future of travel regardless of the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on airways, airports, transit units and street use.

The pandemic has despatched tens of millions of employees household for months, slashed tourism and small business travel need and placed important burdens on transportation companies to produce offers, vaccines and other essential goods. A great deal of the nation’s journey sector is again inquiring Congress for a new spherical of emergency funding.

“We will split new ground in making certain that our financial state recovers and rebuilds, in increasing to the climate obstacle, and in building confident transportation is an engine for equity in this state,” said Buttigieg, who was sworn in Wednesday, in an email to team.

In 2020, there were being 500 million less U.S. airline passengers screened at airports, down 61%. U.S. motorists drove 410 billion much less miles in the very first 11 months of the calendar year, down 13.7%. Soon after 9.9 billion transit excursions in 2019, trips fell 80% immediately after the pandemic began and continue being down 65%.

Unions, trade groups and states want at least $130 billion in supplemental federal government support to rescue the having difficulties sector hit difficult by the collapse in demand.

That figure contains $18 billion sought by point out transportation departments, $40 billion for bus and vessel industries and $39.3 billion for transit.

Aviation unions seek $15 billion to retain thousands of airline staff members in work opportunities soon after March 30. Airports want $17 billion, although passenger railroad Amtrak seek out $1.5 billion.

Congress has authorized $39 billion because March to help transit units, $40 billion in U.S. airline payroll assistance, $12 billion for airports, $10 billion for condition transportation departments and $2 billion for bus and vessel industries.

President Joe Biden has termed for $20 billion for mass transit.

Reporting by David Shepardson Modifying by Aurora Ellis