At a hearing last week, Senator Collins urged the Transportation Secretary to expedite distribution of this funding
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Ranking Member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the application portal for the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) grant program she co-authored is now open. Bus, motorcoach, and passenger vessel companies can review the guidelines and apply immediately for the $2 billion that is available for COVID-19 relief. At a hearing last week, Senator Collins urged Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to work with the Department of Treasury to open the application portal and expedite the distribution of this funding.
“Bus and motorcoach companies, ferries, and tour boats sustain good-paying jobs and provide critical transportation services. The COVID-19 pandemic took an enormous toll on these businesses, many of which are small and family owned,” said Senator Collins. “Last year, I introduced the CERTS Act with Senator Reed, and I secured $2 billion in the December COVID-19 relief bill to support these industries that desperately need it. As the Ranking Member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I repeatedly urged the Department of Treasury to open the CERTS application process in order to help bus operators and passenger vessel operators survive. I encourage these companies to apply now to access this program.”
The COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law in December included $2 billion for the CERTS Act that was authored by Senators Collins and Jack Reed (D-RI). Senators Collins and Reed strongly advocated for the inclusion of this assistance in the COVID-19 relief package to help offset the losses bus, passenger vessel, and pilot vessel companies incurred during the pandemic. In February, Senators Collins and Reed led a bipartisan group of 30 Senators in sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calling for the quick implementation of CERTS. In May, Senators Collins and Reed co-authored another letter signed by Senators Wicker and Cantwell to push Treasury to begin accepting CERTS applications.
All bus, motorcoach, passenger vessel, and pilot vessel companies that meet the eligibility criteria and submit a complete and accurate application will be awarded a grant. Treasury will review each applicant’s financial information and apply a formula that provides each approved applicant with a proportionate share of the funding appropriated for the program.
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 forced thousands of employees to be furloughed or laid off. The pandemic also took 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, faced significant losses when states and localities moved to virtual learning and curtailed extracurricular and afterschool programs.
Bus, motorcoach, passenger vessel, and pilot vessel companies can review the guidelines for the CERTS program and APPLY HERE.