Apr 24, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR) requested Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell consider providing at least $5 billion in loans to over-the-road bus carriers under a program recently enacted by the CARES Act. The Economic Stabilization and Assistance to Severely Distressed Sectors of the U.S. Economy program allocates $454 billion to help struggling companies, such as those in the motorcoach industry.
“The motorcoach industry is not only an important part of the nation’s transportation network, it is also an important part of the economy, providing over 88,000 good-paying full-time equivalent jobs,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, today the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the motorcoach industry. Based on reports from motorcoach companies, between 80 and 95 percent of motorcoach trips have been cancelled or are simply not being booked due to the pandemic, and scheduled service operations are down 80-90%.”
Noting that the short-term impacts of the crisis are staggering, the Chairmen also emphasized that, “in the longer term if bus companies go out of business, hundreds of thousands of travelers who rely on buses to get to their jobs and reach vital services, intermodal connections and educational facilities, especially in rural America, risk losing what may be their only means of transportation. This is especially true for low-income travelers and those without cars. It also means our national emergency response capabilities are at risk, as motorcoaches provide key evacuation services during times of weather – and security– related events.”
The lawmakers concluded, “as you consider companies for eligibility under this program, we ask that you direct at least $5 billion in loans to over-the-road bus carriers.”
Full text of the letter is available HERE.
Reaction from ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso:
We are thrilled with the support from two key Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways & Means and Transportation & Infrastructure committees – who understand and appreciate the important role the U.S. motorcoach industry plays not only in the national transportation network, but also the national economy. Completing 600 million passenger trips annually and adding $15 billion each year to the U.S. economy is not something that should be overlooked.
These Chairman are taking extraordinary steps to ensure the viability of a key mode of transportation mode that was overlooked in prior relief bills. The ABA has been conducting extensive outreach seeking immediate relief for the industry by way of direct grants to support industry workers, and dedicated loans to ensure the viability of the industry. Together, these Chairman have now stepped up to assist ABA’s efforts by advocating to secure the much needed loan assistance from the Distressed Sector loan program created in the CARES Act .
We thank Chairmen Neal and Chairman DeFazio for their efforts and commitment to the U.S. motorcoach industry, and helping to preserve the nation’s “transportation strategic reserve.” The U.S. motorcoach industry is not only a key provider of public transportation services to daily commuters, intercity travelers, and school children, it also steps up in times of crisis,