A bipartisan effort led by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) seeks fast implementation by the U.S. Treasury Department of provisions in the recently enacted Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act supporting the nation’s bus, motorcoach, and passenger vessel industries.
“The past year has been incredibly challenging for these vital transportation providers — and the forecast for the months ahead indicates that a return to normal operations is not coming soon,” wrote Sen. Collins and 29 of her colleagues in a Feb. 4 letter sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “To successfully reopen our economy, we need the bus, motorcoach, school bus, passenger vessel, and passenger ferry companies ready and available to provide transportation on which Americans rely.”
Provisions from the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act included in the recently signed COVID-19 relief law are aimed at helping America’s bus, motorcoach, school bus, and passenger vessel industries during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, wrote Sen. Collins and her colleagues, who included U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Jack Reed (D-RI).
“While often overlooked, these companies play an essential role in national and community transportation networks,” wrote the lawmakers, citing the motorcoach industry as an example for recently providing more than 700 buses to transport National Guard troops to protect the Capitol Building.
“Regrettably, virtually every major source of business and revenue for these companies — including school and sports-related travel, tourism, and mass public events such as concerts — has been severely restricted or eliminated,” according to their letter.
Specifically, the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill included $2 billion for the CERTS Act, and the funds should be quickly distributed, the senators wrote, noting that the Treasury Department must move as quickly as possible to ensure that this assistance is distributed to the companies that need it to pay their employees and keep their doors open.
“We are encouraged to hear that Treasury staff has already begun to consult with various industry advocacy groups, and urge you to work expeditiously towards implementation,” they wrote.