BART will receive nearly $271 million in relief funding from last year’s federal American Rescue Plan Act, the transit agency announced.

The $270.8 million grant is the second-largest award for any transit agency in the country, trailing only New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and will help keep BART operating as its ridership remains below one-third of pre-pandemic estimates.

“The pandemic has made clear our operating funding model of relying so heavily on riders is outdated and hampers our efforts to provide equitable service, especially for low-income riders and marginalized communities,” BART General Manager Bob Powers said. “Increased federal funding allows BART to continue to invest in service improvements and safety enhancement as we welcome riders back to transit.”

BART has previously received roughly $1.3 billion in funding from the federal relief packages that have been approved since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

BART budget officials said last month that the agency has used roughly half of the $1.3 billion it has received, spending $25 million per month over the prior six months.

At that pace, BART budget officials said the agency will likely exhaust its federal relief funding some time in 2024 between January and September, depending on how many riders have returned to the system by then.

The funding, which was announced March 3, came from the $2.2 billion American Rescue Plan Additional Assistance grant program, overseen by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration.

Five Bay Area transit agencies, including BART, received a total of $525 million from the grant program.