Commuter Rail: Information on Benefits and Funding Challenges for Service in Less Urbanized Communities [open pdf - 10MB]
From the Document: "Commuter rail is a widely used public transit alternative to driving between suburban communities and city centers, and in many areas of the country transit agencies have extended their service areas further out from city centers to less urbanized communities. For people living in less urbanized communities who cannot drive due to age, disabilities, or income constraints, public transportation such as commuter rail may be critical to accessing essential services. Every year, commuter rail passengers across the country take hundreds of millions of trips not only to work, but also to school, medical appointments, recreational activities, and for many other purposes. Our review included 31 commuter rail systems operating in the United States. [...] The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has financially affected all modes of public transit. Beginning in March 2020, pandemic-related restrictions in some cities across the United States, among other factors, resulted in steep declines in commuter rail ridership and associated fare revenue. However, many transit agencies continued to provide commuter rail service at reduced frequencies. [...] In April 2020, we provided the relevant committees with information on the federal, state, and local funding sources that can be used to support the operation of commuter rail systems, as well as the federal funds expended by transit agencies in fiscal year 2018. This report finalizes and formally transmits the information we previously provided."
Government Accountability Office: https://www.gao.gov/