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PA Bus Association seeks virus relief

In July, bipartisan bills, known as the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act (CERTS Act), were introduced in the U.S. Senate (S.4150) and U.S. House of Representatives (H.R.7642).

If enacted, CERTS would provide $10 billion in economic relief for over-the-road buses, including the private motorcoach, tour and charter industry. The $10 billion would be used to provide grants and other forms of emergency assistance with at least half of the funds going toward grants.

The Pennsylvania Bus Association applauds U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.)) and U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) and Albio Sires (D-N.J.) for sponsoring these bipartisan bills to help this critical travel and transportation industry survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 shutdown in Pennsylvania and around the country has had a devastating impact on travel and transportation operators.

However, the motorcoach, tour and travel industries were not included in the previous assistance packages provided by Congress; even though, we carry 20 times as many passengers as Amtrak.

The motorcoach, tour and travel industries are dominated by small businesses, and most often these are family owned, multigenerational businesses.

These small businesses are not capable of withstanding even a modest downturn in domestic travel and tourism, let alone the devastating situation the travel industry is currently experiencing.

Small businesses form the backbone of the U.S. tour and travel industry, as well as provide vital links for rural communities, commuting employees, school children, and price-sensitive travelers.

We do not go to Capitol Hill on a regular basis looking for handouts and we are not part of the government system like the airlines, pulling into government-funded airports or Amtrak, which is partly a government system.

Congress has a key opportunity to stand behind the motorcoach industry, which is a key part of our nation’s transportation system, by passing the CERTS Act or including it in the stimulus package currently being negotiated by the Congress and White House.

With the threat of a second COVID-19 wave, we want to ensure that our family motorcoach business, and tour and travel industries are not forgotten.

As Congress aggressively seeks measures to combat the economic downturn resulting from the spread of COVID-19, we implore them to keep in mind the myriad of small, family owned businesses engaged in motorcoach, tour and travel operations.

We urge the PA Congressional delegation to support the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act.

Patricia Cowley

Executive Director

Pennsylvania Bus Association

Harrisburg

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