Representatives ask Trump administration for $5B for bus industry

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On Friday, two U.S. Representatives requested $5 billion in funding for the bus and motorcoach industry as part of the second round of funding through the CARES Act.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, Reps. Richard E. Neal (D-MA) chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, asked that consideration be given to the bus industry a severely distressed industry.

The Economic Stabilization and Assistance to Severely Distressed Sectors of the U.S. Economy program, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, allocates $454 billion in loans to help struggling companies. Neal and DeFazio argued the motorcoach and bus industries are such companies.

“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 letter said. “In fact, in 2018, the industry generated almost $15.35 billion in revenue. 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 motor coach trips have been canceled or are simply not being booked due to the pandemic, and scheduled service operations are down 80-90%. “

According to the two representatives, most of the 36,000 motor coaches in the industry are sitting idle, and thousands are out of work.

Long-term, the letter said, if bus companies go out of business, it will impact hundreds of thousands of travelers traveling to jobs, services, and schools. Motorcoaches play a vital role in emergencies as well, the letter said.

“It also means our national emergency response capabilities are at risk, as motor coaches provide key evacuation services during times of weather – and security-related events,” the letter said. “Our military also relies on motorcoach services to move troops and equipment around the country and to departure points for deployment.”

The letter asked that $5 billion of the $454 billion be set aside for the motorcoach industry.