Dear COMTO Family:
In the past two weeks our lives have been altered drastically by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen our country come to a virtual standstill as we attempt to “flatten the curve” and prevent the further spread of the virus.
As a result, many public transit agencies have cut service due to social distancing. These types of measures are unprecedented and the impact upon our society is great. Millions of people depend on public transit agencies daily – from going to work and school or buying groceries and medicine.
COMTO recently joined APTA in urging President Trump and Congressional leaders for $16 billion in emergency funding to offset some of the extraordinary direct costs and revenue losses which have occurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date as part of the economic stimulus package, $114 billion has been designated for the transportation industry with $25 billion of that amount going to transit agencies.
Public transportation serves as a critical lifeline for millions of Americans from all walks of life. However, as result of the COVID-19 crisis, there is a disproportionate impact on minorities who are part of the transportation workforce and those who rely on it, particularly in underserved areas. We also recognize how the fallout from this situation has affected our members – from huge corporations to small businesses to individuals. That is why in this time of uncertainty, COMTO remains committed to our mission of advocating and being a voice for minorities across the transportation industry.
COMTO is more relevant than ever because we provide advocacy, career opportunities, professional development, job training, and networking for professionals in the transportation industry. We will continue to do the work of COMTO to level the playing field for those who work in our industry and advocate for the communities we serve. In addition, our team is working to create content and programming that we believe will be useful to our members at this time. I encourage you to follow us on social media on Linked In, Twitter, and Facebook so that you can be engaged and remain connected to your peers in the transit industry.
I also want to be mindful of the emotional and psychological pressure these uncertain times may cause, and we encourage our members to seek out help. In addition, it is important to take advantage of any resources your employer may be offering. Another resource is the National Mental Health Hotline at 1-800-863-9314 and it is available 24/7 for support. In addition, we’ve added resources regarding COVID-19 to our website for our members and will be adding more information as it becomes available.
In COMTO’s nearly 50-year history, we’ve endured many challenges. While this current pandemic is one which many of us haven’t seen in our lifetime, we know that as a community, we will get through this together and come out on the other side even stronger.
We stand with you. Stay safe and be encouraged.
A. Bradley Mims
President and CEO, COMTO National