Even though Congress is in recess until July 20, leaders and members of industry associations are hard at work behind the scenes making sure that lawmakers don’t lose sight of the pandemic’s effect on transportation services. Right before the break, two bills were introduced that could provide some much-needed relief to operators across the spectrum.
More than 100 associations and organizations, including the National Limousine Association (NLA), signed a letter in support of S. 4117, tentatively called The Paycheck Protection Program Small Business Forgiveness Act, which would automatically forgive loans of less than $150,000 upon the borrower’s completion of a simple, one-page forgiveness document. According to the letter, “loans of $150,000 and under account for 86 percent of total PPP recipients, but less than 27 percent of PPP loan dollars. Expediting the loan forgiveness process for many of these hard-hit businesses will save more than $7 billion and hours of paperwork.” The bill was sponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Kelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.). The full letter can be viewed here.
For motorcoach operators, the American Bus Association (ABA) and United Motorcoach Association (UMA) have been championing a bill that would provide $10 billion in loans and grants to help the bus industry bridge the recovery. The bill, Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act (CERTS Act), was introduced jointly by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) earlier this month. Both associations have spearheaded extraordinary Congressional outreach through tens of thousands of letters, emails, calls, and meetings by members and industry friends. A letter urging support of the bill was signed by leaders of more than 30 associations, including the UMA, ABA, and NLA. The full letter can be viewed here.
According to the letter, “These transportation industries and their employees all provide vital transportation services, playing an essential and critical role in the national transportation network. If these industries fail, it will have a devastating and reverberating effect throughout the entire economy. The impact will affect not only the capacity of the national transportation network, but also schools, national emergency response capabilities, the manufacturing sector, the financial sector, the tourism sector and beyond. All citizens deserve vital, reliable, and affordable transportation services for their daily lives, and require safe and reliable transportation services for their children to attend school and educational events.”
Although it’s been widely reported that Congress will pass another heavy-lifting and wide-sweeping COVID-19 relief bill—especially with the virus spiking again and many provisions from the CARES Act expiring or being exhausted—Republican lawmakers have expressed their desire to see a package that doesn’t exceed $1 trillion. Because aid is so critical and industry-specific relief could be overlooked, the associations continue to urge their members, industry peers and friends, family, and anyone impacted by the recovery of the transportation and travel industry to continue reaching out to their members of Congress. UMA has created a form letter specifically for the CERTS Act, which is available at busesmoveamerica.com.
Text for neither bill has yet been posted online as they were introduced immediately preceding recess. Track the progress of the bills by visiting congress.gov.