UMA: $10 billion CERTS Act will offer economic relief for members

The motorcoach industry is on track to receive major economic relief, the United Motorcoach Association told members today.

Congress this week will take a big step toward providing $10 billion in economic relief for over-the-road buses, including the private motorcoach, tour and charter industry, with the introduction of the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act (CERTS Act). 

The legislation will be introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) this Wednesday, July 1. 

The $10 billion would be used to provide grants and other forms of emergency assistance. At least half of the funds would go toward grants for an industry that has been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic since mid-March. 

Coordinated effort

This legislation is the fruit of coordinated work on the part of the UMA, along with a group of New England-based motorcoach operators who forged relationships with their senators, and the American Bus Association.

“The CERTS Act is specifically targeted to motorcoach operators to help bridge the gap until motorcoaches are rolling again. It recognizes the capital-intensive nature of our members and will help them maintain their skilled team members, as well,” said Larry Killingsworth, UMA President & CEO, in a message to members.

The legislative team at UMA has been quietly working with the staffs of Sens. Collins and Reed for weeks now, added UMA Chief Operating Officer Ken Presley. 

“The bill has gone through several drafts, so it was important to allow the process to take its normal course. We all need to work together to get it passed,” Presley said. 

What’s in CERTS?

The CERTS Act includes:

  • Funding for an over-the-road bus company up to its 2019 calendar year revenue.
  • Maintain employment through December 31, 2020 (pay, paid administrative leave and paid benefits as of the date of enactment).
  • Recall or rehire any employee laid off, furloughed or terminated because of reduced service.

Eligible activities include acquisition of services, equipment, personal protective equipment and other measures needed to protect workers and customers from COVID-19. It also includes continued operations and maintenance of existing capital equipment and facilities, such as rent, leases, insurance and debt service.

A more detailed update on the legislation will be given at the UMA Online Town Hall on Thursday, July 2, at 2 p.m. EST.

Share this post