CERTS Act Coalition asks for $40 billion in new COVID-19 relief package

The Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Coalition, made up of the American Bus Association, United Motorcoach Association, Passenger Vessel Association and National School Transportation Association, today sent a letter to Congressional Leadership asking them to remember these transportation sectors as they work on the latest COVID relief package. The letter reads as follows:

“Dear Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

As you consider additional COVID-19 relief and infrastructure legislation, we write on behalf of the undersigned organizations representing multiple transportation industries essential to the U.S. national transportation network.  The private bus and motorcoach, school bus and US flag passenger vessel industries collectively seek an additional $40 billion in economic relief.

All of our industries provide public transportation by vehicle or vessel and all have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of the ongoing pandemic.  These operations were the first to shut down and will be the last to fully recover.  We deeply appreciate the $2 billion in relief provided in the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) program included in the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.  Unlike all other modes of public transportation, this was the first specific relief our industries have received during the pandemic.  We are all working closely with the Departments of Treasury and Transportation to stand up this program as efficiently and fairly as possible, but we expect this process will take several months.  As Congress is moving quickly to provide further relief, our industries cannot wait to seek additional relief until the $2 billion is distributed.  In addition, the $2 billion CERTS funding provided is woefully inadequate to help all our essential industries return to anything close to pre-pandemic health.

The U.S. private bus and motorcoach, school bus and domestic passenger vessel industries have suffered unprecedented economic losses and furloughed hundreds of thousands of employees over the last 11 months due to the pandemic.  Due to continuing shutdowns, school closures  and shuttering of travel and tourism destinations, our companies do not expect to see a return to “normal” business until late summer or fall of this year at the earliest, forcing their employees to remain out of work or be lost to other industries.  Our companies want to keep our valued employees, but we cannot do so without additional relief.  Our companies provide critical transportation services to the military, including the recent National Guard transportation to protect the Capitol and Washington, DC, evacuation from natural disasters, commuter routes by intercity bus and ferries and the only way to get to and from school for 26 million children when schools fully resume in-person learning.

Below we have detailed the estimated total revenue losses for each industry for 2020 and projected into 2021:

Industry 2020 lost revenue Estimated 2021 lost revenue Total lost revenue
Private Bus and Motorcoach $12.6 billion $10.6 billion $23.2 billion
Private School Bus $4 billion $3.75 billion $7.75 billion
Private US Flag Passenger Vessel $5 billion $4 billion $9 billion
Total $21.6 billion $18.35 billion $39.95 billion

We seek your support for an additional $40 billion for the CERTS program or creation of an additional funding program for these critical industries in COVID-19 relief or infrastructure legislation.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.”