Treasury positioned to accept CERTS grant submissions soon

Motorcoach operators who’ve been waiting for months to learn details about funding for the CERTS grant program are finally seeing signs of progress in the U.S. Department of Treasury’s program rollout. Guidelines for the program were announced May 6 and just this week Treasury announced an online signup for those who want to receive email updates about the program.

The guidelines released give a good indication of how the program will work, enabling operators to prepare for the day when applications become available and the portal opens.

Ken Presley

After participating in a round of conference calls with U.S. Treasury officials, United Motorcoach Association’s Ken Presley offered an update on the application process for CERTS Act grants.

“Treasury staff appear to be making timely progress. So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, they anticipate having the portal open and ready to receive completed applications by the end of May,” said Presley, Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations.

 Treasury has added a “CERTS” page, where operators can request email updates and announcements. 

 The application period will last four weeks; however, Treasury was clear they will begin processing the submissions immediately and notify applicants if they are eligible for grant funds. Applicants will be able to check the status of their submitted application by logging into the portal, which will display various codes indicating the progress of the application in the review process. 

No calls or emails

Treasury is advising that their officials will not respond to emails or calls from applicants or any third parties seeking information regarding applications that have been filed. Successful applicants will be notified by email as soon as they are determined to be eligible for a grant. 

The amount of any grant won’t be released until after the four-week application period closes. To ensure the funds’ allocation to industries is evidence-based and equitable, Treasury will perform the allocation to industries after the grant application period closes so that actual data from the known pool of all eligible applicants across industries is the basis for the allocation. 

CERTS grants are formula grants and are non-competitive. A “competitive” grant typically requires a narrative as applicants compete for funds based on their need, how they will apply funds if awarded and how their award will meet the goals set out by Congress. Generally, in a formula grant, all eligible companies that submit a complete application are approved. 

Treasury indicates that all eligible applicants will be offered a grant that is a share of the $2 billion appropriated for the CERTS program. The distribution formula and other considerations for calculating individual grant awards will be announced as soon as possible after the application deadline. 

Primary factor is lost revenue

An applicant’s lost revenues from 2019 to 2020 will be the primary factor in the grant-sizing formula used to determine the grant amount offered to an individual approved applicant.

To ensure access by small businesses in accordance with the CERTS Act, the formula may include a minimum grant size to ensure all approved applicants receive a basic amount and/or a maximum grant size to provide for a deeper distribution of available funds to all approved applicants.

Treasury staff intends to release a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) to be posted on the CERTS/Treasury website.  

The grant funds can be used for payroll costs (60%), acquisition of services, personal protective equipment and other measures needed to protect workers and customers from COVID-19 operations. Funds may also be used for maintenance of existing capital equipment and facilities, such as rent, leases, insurance and interest on regularly scheduled debt service.

The grants are considered taxable income. Presley continues to recommend working closely with your accountant on applications for the CERTS grants.


Progress on CERTS grant program: What you need to know

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