The United Motorcoach Association (UMA) is thanking its champions in Congress for their work passing critical legislation providing emergency direct relief to America’s mostly small, family-owned bus and motorcoach companies.
These multi-generational small businesses and their employees have experienced unprecedented hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, when their ability to do business has all but ceased.
In a statement, UMA applauded the willingness of Congress — for the first time — to create a direct relief program that provides grants to the private bus and motorcoach industry, an industry that is essential to the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
“The CERTS Act provision in the COVID-19 relief bill will provide a lifeline for many operators on the brink of losing their businesses and their valued employees. With the pandemic still raging, it comes in the nick of time to ensure survival for these critical bus industries, including the third of our members who also run private school bus operations,” said UMA Chairman of the Board Jeff Polzien.
$2 billion in direct relief
The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 contains $900 billion in additional coronavirus relief, including $2 billion for the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act. Since the measure was introduced in July, the private motorcoach industry worked tirelessly to secure congressional support for this funding, which was made possible by industry champions in Congress who sponsored and promoted the CERTS Act (S.4150/H.R.7642).
In addition to the CERTS provision, the landmark legislation contains other important avenues for relief that will be helpful to many bus and motorcoach companies. These provisions include $284 billion for continuation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for first and second forgivable loans, business deductibility for PPP expenses, $20 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
In the end, CERTS achieved support from more than 60% of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, as lawmakers became aware of the crucial role private motorcoach companies play in America’s economy, transportation infrastructure and homeland security.
In a statement, UMA extended its gratitude to all 60 senators and 271 House members for their support. The organization commended Sens. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Reps. Darin LaHood (R-Illinois), Albio Sires (D-New Jersey), Alan Lowenthal (D-California) and Don Young (R-Alaska) for their indispensable roles in moving this legislation forward over many months.
Their steadfast commitment to the industry and tireless work to secure funding for the CERTS Act was instrumental in ensuring that this legislation was part of the relief package Congress passed Monday night.
The legislators are true champions of small businesses and heroes to the nation’s 3,000 motorcoach company owners and employees, said Larry Killingsworth, UMA President and CEO.
“With the congressional agreement to provide $2 billion in specific economic relief to our industry,” Killingsworth said, “we mark the end of the first leg of what is an ongoing journey to bring our industry back. While the final amount was lower than we originally sought, through all of this, the optimism, teamwork and boundless commitment of UMA members and industry friends has been nothing short of inspiring.”