**The Senators’ CERTS Act would provide $10 billion in emergency economic relief funding for these critical transportation sectors**
Washington, DC) —U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan joined a group of Senators in calling for the next COVID-19 relief package to include the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act, legislation they cosponsored that would authorize $10 billion in emergency economic relief funding for America’s bus, motorcoach and passenger ferry industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter was led by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI).
“We represent both rural and urban communities across the country that rely on the bus, motorcoach, and passenger vessel industries to ensure that children can get to school, employees can get to work, and travelers can connect with rail and air transportation hubs. We need these indispensable links to keep our communities connected and to help these industries avoid further financial instability,” the Senators wrote. “Our bill has strong bipartisan, bicameral support from members representing broad geographic and demographic diversity.”
For the more than 3,000—mostly small and family-owned—motorcoach companies across the U.S., the cancellation of school field trips, tours and college sports seasons has already forced thousands of employees to be furloughed or laid off. The pandemic also continues to take a toll on the U.S. flag passenger vessel industry—grounding ferries and recreational tours—leaving owners and operators without customers and revenue. Finally, privately-owned school bus companies, which are responsible for transporting many of the more than 23 million school children who take the bus to school each day, face significant losses as states and localities move to virtual learning and curtail extracurricular and afterschool programs.
As of this month, the motorcoach industry estimates that scheduled service operations are down by nearly 80 percent, commuter operations are down by as much as 90 percent and roughly 95 percent of charter trips have been cancelled or have simply not been booked.
The CERTS Act has been endorsed by the American Bus Association, the United Motorcoach Association, the National School Transportation Association, the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Passenger Vessel Association.
Click HERE to read the full letter.