Motorcoach operators will soon be able to apply for the long-awaited Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act as the U.S. Treasury has finally released on May 6 its established guidelines for preparing to apply. The program will be a formula grant, not a competitive grant, and may be issued in waves. The portal is NOT yet open to applications, but is expected within the next several weeks.
The CERTS Act was signed into law by former President Trump in December 2020 as part of his administration’s last COVID relief package, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This allocated $2 billion to several industries including the motorcoach industry.
The program is open to motorcoach and school bus transportation providers who meet the criteria:
- Are a private sector company, including a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or sole proprietorship
- Established or organized in the United States or pursuant to Federal law
- Have significant operations and a majority of employees based in the United States
- Have been in operation on March 1, 2020
- Have experienced a revenue loss of 25 percent or more, on an annual, calendar year basis from 2019 to 2020, as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19
- As of March 1, 2020, either
- Have had 500 or fewer than 500 full-time, part-time, or temporary employees and not been a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate of any other entity with a combined total workforce of more than 500 full-time, part-time, or temporary employees OR
- Have had more than 500 full-time, part-time, or temporary employees and not received a loan under the Airlines Loan Program or National Security Loan Program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act1 (or have been a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate of any entity with a combined workforce of more than 500 full-time, part-time, or temp
- At the time of application, have not received Federal assistance provided in response to COVID-19 under the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, or any other provision of law, that when combined exceeds the total amount of revenue earned by the entity during calendar year 2019.
According to the U.S. Treasury webpage: The progam will provide up to $2 billion in grants to eligible companies that certify they have experienced an annual revenue loss of 25 percent or more as a direct or indirect result of COVID. CERTS grant funds are primarily to cover payroll costs, but may also be used to cover the acquisition of services, equipment, including PPE and protection measures from COVID-19 for workers and customers; continued operations and maintenance of existing equipment and facilities; rent, leases, insurance, and interest on regular debt service.
Once the portal is open to receiving the first applications, it will be a four-week window to submit for the funding. Operators are encouraged to get the necessary paperwork together to make the application process quicker and smoother.
For more information, visit the Treasury’s CERTS page.