WASHINGTON DC (April 24, 2020) — The American Bus Association (ABA) — the industry leader advancing North American motorcoach travel and tourism — released a statement today after President Trump signed the latest Congressional funding-aid package, which added more funds to the already-depleted Paycheck Protection Program.
"As we expected the original money earmarked for the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program ran out quickly and the government has to replenish it to help small businesses," said Pantuso. "We support this legislation and every bit the government does to help businesses stay afloat during these dark times. However, we also know that whatever money was put in to replenish has already been spent as the program was over-subscribed with small businesses in desperate need of help. Unfortunately, adding more money to this program still does not help the private motorcoach industry or all of the group-travel industry. The motorcoach industry needs $15 billion in grants and loans to ensure that our 3,000 independent, family owned businesses survive this pandemic until Americans can travel again."
The aid package negotiated by congressional leaders and the administration would increase spending by about $483 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office. The latest aid package includes $321.3 billion in additional appropriations to support the Paycheck Protection Program, which the bill would modify to set some funds aside to support loans issued by smaller lenders; and $60 billion for separate disaster loans to small businesses.
The measure omits additional funding sought to support states and cities, and it does not change the eligibility rules for businesses to receive loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, which leaves many small businesses out of the loop.
The ABA is requesting from Congress $15 billion in loans and grants to ensure an essential sector in America's transportation stays afloat during this pandemic. In the third package, Congress meted out $100 billion for other transportation sectors such as the airlines, airports, Amtrak, and public transit, but left out the motorcoach industry. If this industry fails, it will have devasting to consquences to the millions of Americans who rely on it to go to work, visit family, go on vacations, evacuate them when natural disasters strike, and move the military.
“We look forward to working with Congress on the fourth package to ensure our businesses will be there when America can start working and traveling again,” said Pantuso.
About the American Bus Association
The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular-route, airport express, special operations, and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry. For more information, visit www.buses.org