Bipartisan senators call for Treasury to help struggling bus industry

Bipartisan senators call for Treasury to help struggling bus industry
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Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Trump: GOP senators who don't embrace him will 'lose their elections' MORE (R-Maine) and Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedDemocrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddling Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response MORE (D-R.I.), the chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, respectively, are calling for specific assistance for the bus and motorcoach industry that is unable to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

The senators said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations MORE on Wednesday that the $454 billion lending programs that Congress allotted to Treasury in the coronavirus relief package does not recognize the unique challenge of the industry.

The industry requires a high level of capital investment to maintain vehicle fleets and typically earns half its annual revenue from March through June, according to the senators.

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“Schools, colleges, summer camps and tourists are among the previously reliable customer groups that have completely disappeared since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic," the senators wrote. "We must ensure that the motorcoach industry is still there for our communities when this pandemic has passed."

"This important industry faces a long road to recovery and requires immediate assistance that is flexible and meets both its short- and long-term needs,” they added.

The senators urged Mnuchin to provide specific technical assistance and guidance to the industry, which employs 3,000 bus operators and has a fleet of 36,000 buses. 

“These motorcoaches typically provide invaluable services for the people of Maine and Rhode Island – from employees commuting to work to visitors enjoying our states’ beauty, and from students on field trips to college sports teams en route to competition," the senators wrote.

"These businesses also provide a direct link between our rural areas and more urban centers, and serve as critical connections to other modes of travel, including air and rail."