(Adds more details, comments from senators)
By David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski
WASHINGTON/CHICAGO, Dec 1 (Reuters) - U.S. airlines would receive $17 billion for four months of payroll support under a new $908 billion bipartisan Senate COVID-19 relief proposal, a spokeswoman for Senator Mark Warner said Tuesday.
Warner's office said the plan includes $15 billion for transit systems, $4 billion for airports, $8 billion for private buses and $1 billion for passenger railroad Amtrak.
The $45 billion in transportation assistance is designed to provide assistance for four months. Congress and President-elect Joe Biden next year can decide if more funds should be approved beyond March, Senator Joe Manchin said.
The proposal does not yet have the support of the White House or Congressional leaders.
American Airlines and United Airlines in October furloughed more than 32,000 workers after a prior $25 billion payroll assistance program expired.
Airlines for months had sought another $25 billion bailout to keep workers on the payroll for another six months.
Senator Mitt Romney said lawmakers had spoken to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seeking input on "what was the right number for airlines."
U.S. passenger airline traffic remains down by more than 60% and planes are flying on average just half full. Airlines have lost more than $36 billion in 2020.
Transit agencies have urged Congress to approve $32 billion in additional assistance, while Amtrak sought nearly $3 billion in additional aid and has warned of new service and job cuts without further assistance. Airports sought another $10 billion after receiving $10 billion in April.
On Monday, the Washington DC-area subway system said it was planning to end weekend train service and cut one-third of bus routes in mid-2021 without new government help. Last month, New York said subway and bus services could be cut 40% without new help.
Private U.S. bus companies, school bus and domestic passenger vessel industries have sought $10 billion in government assistance after massive job losses and made a new urgent appeal on Monday to Congress. (Reporting by David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski, Editing by Nick Zieminski and Bernadette Baum)
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