COTA awarded $351,000 under FTA Emergency Relief Program

Governor Ralph DLG. Torres and Lt. Governor Arnold I. Palacios announced on Thursday that the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority (COTA) was awarded $351,000 under the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) Emergency Relief Program for transit systems affected by major disasters that occurred in 2018.

Earlier this year, COTA applied for a grant opportunity under the Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program (Emergency Relief Program) to States, Territories, local governmental authorities, Indian tribes, and other FTA recipients affected by major declared disasters occurring in calendar year 2018.  COTA was one of the seven grant applications from around the United States awarded these disaster relief funds.

“COTA continues to be a proactive agency that responds directly to natural disasters and emergencies. From typhoons in 2018 to this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, the work that COTA’s drivers, dispatchers, operators, and administrative staff do during critical times assist many of our residents get from place to place safely. Lt. Governor Palacios and I commend Special Assistant Alfreda and her team for their hard work,” said Governor Torres.

The FTA’s Emergency Relief Program provides FTA with primary responsibility for reimbursing public transportation emergency response and recovery costs after an emergency or major disaster that affects public transportation systems.

COTA played a vital role during Super Typhoon Yutu’s pre-disaster and post recovery efforts transporting a total of 679 individuals to and from the designated shelters throughout the island of Saipan.

 “Anyone who has experienced Super Typhoon Yutu will never forget the devastation this natural disaster left our Commonwealth just about 2 years ago.  We can all agree that thinking back to this time seems like it happened yesterday,” said Special Assistant for Public Transportation Alfreda P. Camacho.

“By actively applying for federal grants, we, here at COTA, continue to do our part by working together to ensure the validity and sustainability of this public transportation agency remains intact for the CNMI especially as we continue to work towards the expansion of these services to the islands of Tinian and Rota,” Camacho added.

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