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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 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
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.