UMA CERTS Act FAQ clarifies new law and second round of PPP

Now that the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act and a second round of PPP have become law, motorcoach operators are seeking guidance as the federal government puts programs in place. The United Motorcoach Association is curating a PPP and CERTS Act FAQ to clarify next steps and explain processes going forward. The list will be updated as new information is available.

Is it possible to change the PPP to 40% labor and 60% for other eligible expenses?

No, 60% is now law. It would take another act of Congress to change it. The Secretary does not have the discretion to modify.

Will they utilize a NAICS code to determine “CERTS” eligibility?

That has not yet been determined. However, in the instance of over-the-road bus it is well defined by Federal statute. (The term “over-the-road bus” means a bus characterized by an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment.- 6 USCS § 1151)

Regarding “CERTS,” can the smaller companies be protected to make sure they receive a little piece of the pie?

I would just hate to see some companies not get anything. Treasury has already expressed concern for that issue. As well, many of the larger OTRB operating companies that contract with state/local transit already received Federal subsidies in the CARES Act. In the future, I suspect a cap may be imposed but it remains too early to tell.

How detailed (since this is a grant) do we believe the government will be in auditing the use of these funds?

Typical with Federal grants, eventually the recipient will be required to furnish “certifications and assurances.” Fibbing is not an option and the Justice Department prosecutes small businesses nearly every week for misrepresentations. Congress takes this seriously, as abuse of funds reflects poorly on them.

Any idea of which entity will create, review & process the applications?

The legislation appoints the Secretary of Treasury. We do know Treasury is already working on the CERTS Act and we suspect it will remain under their purview.

Any best guess on timing of the process?

As previously mentioned, they have already initiated the process. The legislation leaves considerable discretion to Treasury. Therefore, they must fill in a lot of the “blanks” along with going through the rulemaking process. Our best guess at this time is 45 to 60 days unless they have a path to expedited rulemaking.

Seek updates to the PPP and CERTS Act FAQ on the UMA website on the COVID-19 Resource Page.

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