In 2020, the Town of Blacksburg/Blacksburg Transit (BT) received CARES Act funding from the Federal Transit Administration, designated to support public transportation systems during the pandemic. As a result of receiving this funding, the town and Virginia Tech have agreed to a contract revision allowing the town to credit the university $4 million for payments not needed to support transit services during this time period.

This credit will help offset the university’s contractual obligations in the current year and allows Virginia Tech to provide one semester of relief to students in the form of not having to pay the mandatory Transportation Services Fee for the spring semester, pending approval from the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to the Town of Blacksburg for, yet again, being such a great partner and working with us for the sake of everyone in our community,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer Dwayne Pinkney. “The town did not have to do what it did, but in doing so, demonstrated its support and partnership with the university and provided us with an opportunity to help our students directly. We believe that passing this relief to our students would be the right thing to do.”

“Blacksburg Transit is a valuable community resource that greatly benefits the university, the town, and the region,” said Blacksburg Town Manager Marc Verniel. “The CARES Act funds helped ensure the financial stability of our transit system during these challenging times. When we learned that there would be a surplus in Blacksburg Transit’s budget due to the CARES Act funding, we felt that it was appropriate to provide this credit back to the university, which has been the town’s long-time partner in providing Blacksburg Transit service.”

Full-time students enrolled in Blacksburg currently pay $96 per semester for the mandatory Transportation Services Fee, which entitles a student unlimited BT bus service and supports alternative transportation programs at the university.

In order to provide all Blacksburg-based students relief from that charge, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors would need to vote and approve a resolution allowing the university to do so. The board will take up this matter no later than its March 21-22 meeting.

If approved by the board, the relief would take the form of a credit on a student’s spring semester bill soon thereafter.