Congress this week will take a big step toward providing $10 billion in economic relief for over-the-road buses, including the private motorcoach, tour and charter industry, with the introduction of the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act (CERTS Act). It will be introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) this Wednesday, July 1. The $10 billion would be used to provide grants and other forms of emergency assistance. At least half of the funds would go toward grants.
This legislation is the fruit of coordinated work on the part of the United Motorcoach Association, along with a group of New England-based motorcoach operators who forged relationships with their senators, and the American Bus Association.
“The CERTS Act is specifically targeted to motorcoach operators to help bridge the gap until motorcoaches are rolling again. It recognizes the capital-intensive nature of our Members and will help them maintain their skilled team members, as well,” said Larry Killingsworth, United Motorcoach Association President & CEO
“The legislative team at UMA has been quietly working with Senators Collins’ and Reed’s staffs for weeks now,” said UMA COO Ken Presley. “The bill has gone through several drafts, so it was important to allow the process to take its normal course. We all need to work together to get it passed."
Key Provisions of the CERTS Act
Grants: not less than 50% of the amount will be used to provide grants.
• Funding for an over-the-road bus company may not exceed their 2019 calendar year revenue.
• Maintain employment through December 31, 2020 (pay, paid administrative leave, and paid benefits as of the date of enactment).
• Recall or rehire any employee laid off, furloughed, or terminated because of reduced service.
• Acquisition of services
•Personal protective equipment
• Other measures needed to protect workers and customers from COVID-19
Continued operations and maintenance of existing capital equipment and facilities including:
• Debt service