It is no secret that the national labor shortage has had an incredible impact on the transit industry and its operators. Agencies in every corner of the industry seek to fill operator positions that enable restoration of service lines to the parts of their communities that depend on transit to get them to jobs, education, and healthcare. Unfortunately, funding shortfalls, budget cuts, and service reduction due to operator shortages hamper an agency’s service delivery and leave community members in difficult situations.
H.R. 3684, or The Invest in America Act of 2021 under the 117th Congress, addresses the labor shortfalls in a few ways - here’s how.
First, the legislation provides a path to funding through Section 25020 Transportation Workforce Development. An agency can request federal funding to address budget shortfalls in numerous areas, including operations, outlined in subsection (iv). H.R. 3684 allocates $30.6 billion in funding to the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) to distribute as grants to the agencies that can demonstrate a financial need to support necessary operations. What this bill also allocates funding for under this section is the Transportation Workforce Outreach Initiative. This initiative is designed to increase awareness of career opportunities in the transportation sector, including public transit. Agencies can benefit from this federally funded outreach program to strategically to position themselves to acquire the workforce needed to restore service lines to the communities that need it most for their daily lives. Keen attention and purposeful timing will be incredibly beneficial in achieving that outcome.
At TransPro Consulting, we understand what an operator shortage does to an agency and ultimately to the customers. Leveraging resources made available by legislation is paramount to recovery, not only for ridership but for service to the community. TransPro Consulting works with agencies to plan the strategy required for hiring a workforce that purposefully operates the agency’s assets. Our attention to detail and knowledge of the available resources enables us to deliver insightful solutions to our clients and the communities they serve.