The members of the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) appreciate the work of Congress to pass critical legislation providing emergency 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. UMA applauds 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 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 it 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 the U.S. Congress who sponsored and promoted the CERTS Act (S.4150/H.R.7642). In the end, CERTS achieved support from more than 60 percent of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, as members of Congress became aware of the crucial role America’s private motorcoach companies play in America’s economy, transportation infrastructure, and homeland security. UMA salutes all 60 Senators and 271 House Members for their support.
Above all, UMA commends Senators Jack Reed and Susan Collins and U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood, Albio Sires, Alan Lowenthal and Don Young for their indispensable roles in moving this legislation forward over many months. Their steadfast commitment to our 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 last night. They are true champions of small businesses and heroes to the nation’s 3,000 motorcoach company owners and employees.
UMA Chairman of the Board Jeff Polzien said, “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.”
“With the Congressional agreement to provide $2 billion in specific economic relief to our industry,” Larry Killingsworth, UMA President and CEO 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.”
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.