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WASHINGTON D.CU.S. airlines would receive US$17 billion for four months of payroll support under a new US$908 billion bipartisan Senate COVID-19 relief proposal, a spokeswoman for Senator Mark Warner said Tuesday.

Warner's office said the plan includes US$15 billion for transit systems, US$4 billion for airports, US$8 billion for private buses, and US$1 billion for passenger railroad Amtrak.

The US$45 billion in transportation assistance is designed to provide assistance for four months. Congress and President-elect Joe Biden next year can decide if more funds should be approved beyond March, Senator Joe Manchin said.
The proposal does not yet have the support of the White House or Congressional leaders.

American Airlines and United Airlines in October furloughed more than 32,000 workers after a prior US$25 billion payroll assistance program expired.
Airlines for months had sought another US$25 billion bailout to keep workers on the payroll for another six months.

Senator Mitt Romney said lawmakers had spoken to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seeking input on "what was the right number for airlines."

U.S. passenger airline traffic remains down by more than 60per cent and planes are flying on average just half full. Airlines have lost more than US$36 billion in 2020.
Transit agencies have urged Congress to approve US$32 billion in additional assistance, while Amtrak sought nearly US$3 billion in additional aid and has warned of new service and job cuts without further assistance. Airports sought another US$10 billion after receiving US$10 billion in April.

On Monday, the Washington DC-area subway system said it was planning to end weekend train service and cut one-third of bus routes in mid-2021 without new government help. Last month, New York said subway and bus services could be cut 40per cent without new help.
Private U.S. bus companies, school bus, and domestic passenger vessel industries have sought US$10 billion in government assistance after massive job losses and made a new urgent appeal on Monday to Congress.#

Via (Reuters)


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