During its 2020 State Conference & Expo, held virtually over the last two days, the Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) recognized the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) with the 2020 MPTA Transit Champion Award. It was presented to Michelle Teel Kratzer, P.E., PTOE, the Director of Multimodal at MoDOT, and her staff, for being the first department of transportation in the country to have its application for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act submitted and approved, ensuring that this critical funding was delivered to Missouri transit providers as quickly as possible.

During the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders, public transportation providers across Missouri worked tirelessly to keep operators and passengers safe as they provided a means for essential personnel to get to their jobs and ensured everyday citizens could gain access to food, medicine and other necessities. This occurred as agencies faced massive deficits due to dropping fare box recovery, increased expenses from new cleaning protocols and significant driver absenteeism. When the

$2 trillion CARES Act was announced and included a $25 billion allocation for transit, MoDOT’s MultiModal Staff got to work, compiling all the needed information they began working on as soon as they became aware that some relief money might be on the horizon. The team submitted the application on April 3, resulting in the timely approval of $248 million in federal funding for Missouri transit providers by April 10.

“It was crunch time and MoDOT delivered,” commented Kimberly Cella, Executive Director of the Missouri Public Transit Association. “This funding was critical to ensuring transit providers across the state could provide much needed service then – and as we continue navigating through these challenging times. Thank you to Michelle and her staff for your hard work, and congratulations on a job extremely well done.”

The MPTA Transit Champion Award is designed to celebrate the efforts of organizations committed to improving public transportation in the state of Missouri and is presented annually. Individuals can  like the organization on Facebook or follow them on Twitter at @MOPublicTransit.