When it comes to moving legislation on Capitol Hill, it takes support - in both the House and Senate, right? So, when you have a bill in both chambers that has bi-partisan support by more than a majority of the members, you would think it’s a “no brainer” for Congressional Leaders to take action, and get a “win” for their colleagues, particularly in an election year, and the essential worker heroes they represent.
Right now the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services or CERTS Act has more than 56 bi-partisan co-sponsors in the Senate (S. 4150) and 253 bi-partisan co-sponsors in the House (H.R. 7642), or basically more than a majority in both chambers for a total of 300 sponsors in Congress, and more are signing on every day. These co-sponsors have crossed the aisle throwing their support behind the transportation sectors left out of the CARES Act when airlines, Amtrak, public transit and airports received nearly $100 billion in aid.
Not only do these bills have bi-partisan sponsors, they also have senior leadership co-sponsors. In the House, 13 of the 23 Committee chairs support CERTS. While in the Senate, 9 out of 20 Committee chairs and 11 out of 20 Senate leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) support CERTS. Bottom line: this is America's bill. It is one of the few bills currently in Congress that reflects true bi-partisan cooperation, and it is the only relief bill that has more than 300 co-sponsors.
The fact is, the motorcoach industry has been decimated. While other transportation sectors threaten of future job losses, the motorcoach industry is experiencing heavy job losses today. The numbers tell the story:
• Nearly 80,000 workers (out of nearly 100,000) have been furloughed to date;
• 26,000 currently at risk of being lost;
• 40-50 percent of companies are expected to close by the end of the year.
These statistics show that without relief, not only does the motorcoach industry face collapse, but the industry's supply chain will also be crippled, asset values and bank positions destroyed, and tens of thousands of other jobs that rely on the motorcoach industry lost.
As negotiations continue between Congressional leaders and the Administration, the American Bus Association implores Congress to include the industry in the next stimulus package.
If the industry is left to fail, the government will have a whole host of new issues on its hands at greater cost:
• Hundreds of thousands of troops unable to get from point A to B for base movements and missions;
• Millions of American lives at stake during natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires and floods;
• Millions of school children unable to get to school by bus or go on field trips;
• Millions of Americans unable to have access to affordable and reliable transportation for work and leisure.
The numbers don't lie. The time is now for action.