Shaheen, Hassan, Senators Call for Quick Implementation of COVID-19 Financial Assistance for Bus & Passenger Vessel Industries

February 11, 2021

Shaheen and Hassan cosponsored the CERTS Act to provide relief for the bus & passenger vessel industries

Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a letter led by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) calling on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to quickly implement the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act to support America’s bus, motorcoach and passenger vessel industries. The COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law on December 27 included $2 billion for the CERTS Act, which they cosponsored.

“The past year has been incredibly challenging for these vital transportation providers—and the forecast for the months ahead indicates that a return to normal operations is not coming soon. To successfully reopen our economy, we need the bus, motorcoach, school bus, passenger vessel, and passenger ferry companies ready and available to provide transportation on which Americans rely,” the Senators wrote. “That is why the Treasury Department must move as quickly as possible to ensure that this assistance is distributed to the companies that desperately need it to pay their employees and keep their doors open.”

For the more than 3,000—mostly small and family-owned—motorcoach companies across the U.S., the cancellation of school field trips, tours and college sports seasons has already forced thousands of employees to be furloughed or laid off. The pandemic also continues to take a toll on the U.S. flag passenger vessel industry—grounding ferries and recreational tours—leaving owners and operators without customers and revenue. Finally, privately-owned school bus companies, which are responsible for transporting many of the more than 23 million school children who take the bus to school each day, face significant losses when states and localities move to virtual learning and curtail extracurricular and afterschool programs.

Senators Shaheen and Hassan have been calling for additional funding and resources for the transportation industry and its employees since start of the pandemic. In August, they announced that the Nashua Public Transit System received a federal grant of more than $821K, following their letters of support for the City of Nashua's application. The funding came in addition to a $356,046 Department of Transportation Low or No Emission Grant that was announced by them and the New Hampshire congressional delegation in May. Additionally, Senator Shaheen previously urged the Trump administration to ensure transit workers received essential personal protective equipment. A lead negotiator of bipartisan talks that led to the COVID-19 relief legislation signed into law in December, Shaheen repeatedly called for funding to support transportation networks that have been hard-hit by the pandemic.

The letter was also signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Hoeven (R-ND), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Click HERE to read the full letter.