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Axios' Ina Fried and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). Photo: Axios

The federal government must prioritize local and state transportation for the economy to recover from the pandemic, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) stressed on Friday, calling the alternative "unthinkable" during an Axios virtual event on The Future of Transportation & COVID-19.

The big picture: Many cities have introduced funding cuts to their public transit systems after the pandemic shut down economies. Ridership is still down in many regions, and those cuts affect essential workers the most, Butterfield said.

What he's saying: "We want to invest in these communities to keep them from having to lay off first responders and fire and police personnel. We don’t want them to have to raise property taxes and to do other things necessary in order to balance their budgets. Our governmental units are underwater."

  • "All of these mass transits systems are underwater, and they’re in need of immediate capital."
  • "If we don't have a robust transportation system then we're not going to have a robust economy."

What to watch: The economic stimulus package called the HEROES Act that passed in the House has $1 trillion for "state and local support," including public transit funding. The measure is stalled in the Senate.

Watch the event here.

Go deeper

Nov 28, 2020 - Health

U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Public schools across the country are seeing a drop in enrollment numbers as schools have shifted to remote and hybrid learning programs to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Times reports.

The state of play: Some parents are opting to keep their children at home or finding models that provide in-person coursework.

Updated 21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Nov 28, 2020 - World

Germany surpasses 1 million coronavirus cases

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

Germany officially topped 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

By the numbers: The country reported 20,819 confirmed cases and 371 deaths on Friday, per JHU.