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Axios' Ina Fried (l) and former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he expects a bipartisan push in Congress to shore up public transportation during the coronavirus pandemic, as it did for the airlines earlier this year and is under pressure to do again.

The state of play: During an Axios virtual event, LaHood underscored that Americans are using cars, rather than public transit, during COVID-19 pandemic. Public transportation as a result has subsequently seen a massive drop in ridership and revenue along with it.

  • LaHood said "places like Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Detroit where they have huge transit, and people really rely on it to get to their workplace, and in many instances to get to the grocery store or doctor's appointment" will be the most in-need.
  • "These transit systems are hurting very, very badly for the fact that they're lacking in farebox resources, they're going to need the help of the federal government," he added.

What to watch: "I believe that this will be an issue that will be taken care of in the next economic stimulus and will be brought forward by members of Congress from all over the country...," Lahood said.

  • "I think most members of Congress recognize that nurses and health care workers and people that have to go to work every day to take care of the patients and the victims of [COVID-19] need good transportation."

LaHood added that Congress should be investing first in traditional forms of transportation, saying that issues regarding bike-shares and ride-shares can be put on the back-burner.

  • "When Congress does help the airlines again, there ought to be help for transit agencies."

Driving the news: U.S. passenger airlines received $25 billion in March to offset lost revenue from lack of travel, especially business travel. The airlines are threatening to furlough close to 50,000 employees this fall, as Congress considers another stimulus package.

Watch the event.

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — considered the world's largest by volume. Park officials wrapped the trees in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. And officials said early Sunday protection efforts appeared to be working.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. drone strike victims' families in Afghanistan seek compensation

A relative of Ezmarai Ahmadi, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike, looks at the wreckage of a vehicle that was damaged in the strike in the Kwaja Burga neighbourhood of Kabul on Saturday. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi AFP via Getty Images

Relatives of 10 Afghans killed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul last month said Saturday they want to see punishment and compensation over the deaths.

Driving the news: The relatives said it's "good news" that the U.S. had "officially admitted" that "they had attacked innocents" in the Aug. 29 strike that killed Zamarai Ahmadi, an aid worker with a U.S.-based group, and nine family members, but they still need "justice," per AFP.