The Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act is a step closer to crossing the finishing line.
“UMA is very pleased with this step forward,” United Motorcoach Association President and CEO Larry Killingsworth said. “This industry is united behind this important piece of relief legislation. As soon as we have a House bill number, we will mobilize an advocacy campaign to do in the House what we did in the Senate over the past two weeks.” UMA’s ongoing campaign to get Senators to support the CERTS Act built a team of more than 11,000 advocates writing more than 25,000 letters to U.S. Senators.
A House version of the crucial piece of legislation was introduced by Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL), Albio Sires (D-N.J), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Don Young (R-Alaska).
The Senate version of CERTS Act was introduced in early July by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
This bipartisan legislation would provide $10 billion in emergency economic relief funding, in the form of grants (no less than 50 percent of total funding) and other economic assistance, through the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to motorcoach operators and other transportation industries.
The $15 billion-a-year motorcoach industry, which provides 600 million passenger trips annually, is currently operating at about 15% of capacity due to COVID-19. As a result, most of the nation’s 3,000 bus and motorcoach companies have had to furlough employees and their 36,000 vehicles are stuck in parking lots instead of out on the road.
The United Motorcoach Association members and their allies have mounted a massive lobbying effort, sending more than 24,000 letters to legislators. UMA is also part of two major coalitions of tourism and travel industries to garner support for the CERTS Act from Congressional leadership.