Schumer, Gillibrand announces $4m in emergency funding for Watertown transit system and airport

WASHINGTON, DC  —  As part of the Schumer-negotiated CARES Act, which included relief for upstate airports and transit systems, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $3 million in federal funding apportioned by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the City of Watertown’s public bus system, Citibus and $1.09 million apportioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Watertown International Airport.

“Transit systems like Citibus and airports like Watertown International are vital to the connectivity and success of the regional economy. As New York continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, it’s imperative that citizens and first responders have reliable methods of transportation,” said Senator Schumer. “This federal funding will offset major revenue losses for Citibus and Watertown International airport and allow them to recover and continue serving Watertown. I’m proud we secured this imperative funding in the CARES Act and will continue to fight to make sure North Country has the help it needs to make it through this crisis.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has had major implications on New York’s transportation systems. Now more than ever, we must secure reliable transit for first responders, health care workers, and citizens who depend on it,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This funding will be used to offset major revenue losses for Citibus and the Watertown International Airport. I am proud to have fought for this funding in the CARES Act and I will continue to fight for the resources New York communities need to reopen, rebuild, and return to normal.”

Citibus had been in the process of expanding its bus routes and services when the COVID-19 crisis began. Last August, Department of Transportation, Jefferson County and city officials released the Watertown-Jefferson County Area Transportation Council Transit Study after two years of work, which put forth an aggressive plan to fill the North Country’s transportation needs.

Watertown International hosts twice daily flights to Philadelphia through American Airlines and serves to make Fort Drum and more accessible for the 10th Mountain Division. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the number of weekly flights out of Watertown international went from 13 to 6 at the beginning of this month.