August 15, 2022 12:03 am

Because state funding formulas for transit systems rely partly on ridership numbers, local and regional agencies are worried their budgets will be reduced due to stark downward turns in public transit use during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Political cartoon by John Cole)

From The Virginia Mercury: The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation uses several performance factors including ridership to determine the budget allocations for dozens of transit agencies. But ridership declined during the pandemic because more people were working from home instead of commuting to offices. Now, transit agencies are worried their budgets will be reduced as ridership looks to rebound to pre-pandemic levels. Virginia Railway Express, for example, could see its state operating funding drop 59% in fiscal year 2024 compared to 2021 levels.

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John Cole
John Cole

John Cole's political cartoons on Virginia government and politics appear on the Virginia Mercury on Fridays. He is currently the staff cartoonist for the editorial pages of The Times-Tribune in Scranton, PA. Prior to this, he enjoyed a nearly 20-year run with The Herald-Sun in Durham, NC, where he developed an affection for the state, its people and its politics. His award-winning work is internationally syndicated by Cagle Cartoons.