The United Motorcoach Association is asking members and their supporters to take part in a campaign asking U.S. representatives and senators for additional CERTS grants funding before more motorcoach businesses are lost.
The industry is seeking $6 billion, the balance of the original $8 billion requested, in the current $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. Funds would be used to sustain the remainder of the industry while operators await travel and tourism to resume.
When the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act program was included in a comprehensive $900 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, passed in December, funding for the motorcoach industry survived at a level of $2 billion, less than the previously hoped-for amount of $8 billion. Among the motorcoach industry, school bus, passenger vessel and pilot vessel companies, the U.S. Treasury determined 262,570 jobs were affected by the grants.
“Our businesses are essential components of our nation’s infrastructure and critical to our nation’s security,” said Larry Killingsworth, UMA President and CEO. “Originally, CERTS was to be funded at $8 billion to save our industry. Upon final passage, the amount was cut down to $2 billion, despite the critical needs of our businesses.”
CERTS fund disbursement
Passage of the CERTS program directed Treasury to provide up to $2 billion in grants to eligible companies that certify they have experienced an annual revenue loss of 25% or more as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19. Members began receiving the grants last week. The average payment is $1.3 million.
The request for additional funds comes as the industry has been devastated by the pandemic and the lack of government support provided to others. The U.S. Department of Treasury has determined the combined industries lost revenues of $8.7 billion in 2020. According to DOT statistics, the industry contracted from nearly 3,000 companies in December of 2019 to the current 1,476.
The majority of CERTS grant funds — 60% — are being used earmarked to cover payroll costs. The balance may be used to cover the acquisition of services, equipment, including PPE and protection measures from COVID-19 for workers and customers; continued operations and maintenance of existing equipment and facilities; rent, leases and insurance; and interest on regular debt service.
You can use UMA’s click-and-send campaign to quickly contact both your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative.