MBTA received $10.3 million from FEMA for COVID-related expenses

The MBTA received $10.3 million in federal reimbursement funds for costs related to cleaning and sanitizing its transit system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency grant will reimburse the MBTA for costs associated with disinfecting its equipment and facilities between July and September 2020, as well as other measures taken to keep commuters and employees safe during the public health emergency.

“FEMA is pleased to be able to assist MBTA with these costs,” FEMA Region 1 Regional Administrator Lori Ehrlich said in a statement. “Keeping public transit in good working order during the pandemic was essential to allow essential workers to continue to get to their jobs, as well as to provide services to the general public.

According to a FEMA statement, the MBTA used contract labor and paid overtime to its employees to disinfect the red, orange, blue and green subway lines, as well as its buses, commuter trains, ferry and the RIDE, which is the door-to-door agency. – Adapted transport service system at the door.

The grant will also reimburse the MBTA for providing its staff with personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and wipes; install barriers between operators and the public; and installing signage and crowd control measures to keep the system “safe and operational,” FEMA said.

The reimbursement grant comes at a time when the MBTA faces a $236 million budget shortfall when its federal relief funds run out in fiscal year 2024.

Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the T “has budgeted for these funds pending reimbursement from FEMA,” so the funds were anticipated in its financial projections. The only question, he said, was when the funds would arrive.

The grant was awarded to MBTA through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, which “is an essential source of funding for states and communities recovering from a government-declared disaster or emergency. federal government”.

The federal agency provided more than $1 billion through this program to Massachusetts to reimburse it for pandemic-related costs.