Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, continues to be a champion of the motorcoach and bus industry.
He recently met with a group of motorcoach company owners, primarily from New England, and association representatives. The Jan. 28 meeting was hosted by Peter Picknelly, Chairman and CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines, at its Providence Terminal.
Reed came to the meeting to listen, said Tom McCaughey of Flagship Trailways, in Cranston, Rhode Island.
“The dozen or so operators there along with our industry professionals painted a very clear picture of the continued challenges we face and the very real need for additional CERTS funding for our very survival,” McCaughey said.
He reached out to Jack Reed very early on in the pandemic back in March of 2020,
“The Senator took an immediate interest in the plight of our industry as a result of the devastation wrought by the pandemic on our business. As the situation further deteriorated, Sen. Reed took action with his creation of the CERTS ACT, which has been such a lifesaver in keeping many of us afloat,” McCaughey said.
A key role
Reed, along with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act in July 2020 in an effort to help financially struggling motorcoach companies, passenger vessel companies, school bus contractors, and the pilotage industry.
The two played a key role in rallying support for the bailout package tailored to the unique characteristics of the motorcoach industry. The legislation passed December 2020, and the U.S Treasury distributed the funds in August 2021.
The group as a whole did a good job laying out the current plight of the industry, added Ken Presley, United Motorcoach Association’s Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO
“It never occurred to be that our could become an endangered species, but with approximately one-half of the motorcoach companies with interstate/intrastate operating authority now missing in action, the industry is going to need to reach deep to find the resiliency necessary to navigate the aftermath of the pandemic,” Presley said. “A little more help from the federal government could go a long way towards sustaining us to fight another day.”