FirmoGraphs tracks and analyzes weekly and monthly meeting minutes from more than 1000 municipal and utility boards nationwide. Here are some findings using our Power Search tool, looking at conversations in the Water and Transit sectors.
Water and wastewater authorities are actively discussing pandemic related matters, working to address community concerns while focusing on the health and safety of their own staff. Here’s a sample of discussions coast to coast.
On March 24, 2020, Virginia’s Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) held a meeting where the financial impacts of COVID were discussed. Ideas around lines of credit and bond issues were discussed, as well as rate increases. In the end, the commission decided to leave rates unchanged, and draw from the line of credit if needed.
Kentucky’s Louisville Water Company reported during its Board of Water Works meeting, held on April 21, 2020, that COVID-19 has had a negative impact to net income of $612,000 during March. Finance Vice President and Treasurer Ms. Lynn Pearson expressed concerns about the impact on overall 2020 financial performance.
On May 26, 2020, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Board of Water and Power Commissioners had a meeting, where they discussed final budgets for their water and revenue fund for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. Chief Operating Officer Martin Adams updated the Board on measures to ensure safety of employees.
Transit authorities continue to have active COVID-related discussions.
The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority reports a severe adverse impact on MTA’s financial condition and operating results. Federal emergency legislation, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, is expected to provide approximately $3.8 billion to MTA. In April, MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. Foye wrote to the New York State Congressional delegation, urging Congressional action to provide an additional $3.9 billion “to stem the immediate hemorrhaging in the MTA’s 2020 operating budget”. MTA management projects the full 2020 financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis to the MTA to be between $7.0 and $8.5 billion. After the receipt of the expected $3.8 billion under The CARES Act, the net financial impact in 2020 is estimated to be between $3.2 and $4.7 billion.
The CARES Act includes $25 billion in funds for essential transportation services, with an estimated $3.75 billion directed to California transit agencies. Los Angeles’s Metrolink stated in their May report that their staff will continue to work with the California Transit Association (CTA), delegation offices and Congressional Committee leadership on prioritizing public transportation and infrastructure spending in future relief efforts.
San Diego’s North County Transit District (NCTD) reported in their March report that there were no impacts to service levels and NCTD is operating all routes as scheduled and that their vehicles are being cleaned and disinfected daily. In the meantime NCTD implemented temporary service reductions on COASTER commuter trains due to significant declines of around 73% in ridership. Executive director of NCTD, Matthew Tucker, in NCTD April report, informed the Board on monitoring the situation daily and on communicating with regulatory agencies (Federal Railroad Association (FRA), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) ) regarding the District’s service reduction plan. Minnesota’s Metropolitan Transportation Services Director Nick Thompson reported in March ridership declines in the range of 60% to 80% and a service reduction of 60% services.
The point is to provide insights to help you pivot and move your business during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. FirmoGraphs will continue to employ our Power Search tool, watching developments in municipal infrastructure and meeting minutes.
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