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 CollinsBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him GOP blocks effort to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks MORE (R-Maine) and Jack ReedJack ReedLawmakers release compromise defense bill without Section 230 repeal Top Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper | Worries grow about rudderless post-election Pentagon | Esper firing hints at broader post-election shake-up | Pelosi says Esper firing shows Trump intent on sowing 'chaos' 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 MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Sweeping financial crimes bill to hitch a ride on defense measure On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K 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.


“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."