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CEO Says CATS Is In A 'Good Financial Position' Despite Revenue Losses

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Charlotte Area Transit System CEO John Lewis says the system is in "a good financial position" as it drafts its budget for the next fiscal year.  That's despite a sharp decline in revenues related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lewis said ridership is way down, CATS has eliminated fares, and sales tax revenues are also down. But he told members of his board Wednesday that federal aid will help.       

“We are in a good position both from a sales tax standpoint, but also when we're looking at the reimbursement that public transit is receiving from the CARES Act,” Lewis said.

CATS expects to receive about $57 million  in federal funds to make up for lost revenue and expenses related to the virus outbreak. CATS ridership on buses and trains is down more than 50% from early March, before stay home orders were announced.

Members of the Metropolitan Transit Commission voted unanimously to recommend the $176 million budget, which goes to the City Council for final approval.