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Bipartisan senators call for Treasury to help struggling bus industry

Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRatcliffe vows to deliver unvarnished intelligence Senate GOP leaders skeptical of Trump’s payroll tax cut Senate Intelligence gets its chance to grill John Ratcliffe MORE (R-Maine) and Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedCoronavirus drives record number of complaints to consumer bureau Overnight Defense: Navy head orders ‘deeper review’ into Roosevelt’s coronavirus outbreak | Armed Services chairman opposes defense industry cash in next coronavirus bill | More satellite imagery suggests Kim Jong Un’s whereabouts The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – House delays Washington return; McConnell nixes infrastructure from COVID relief bill 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 MnuchinBattle brewing over how to get more relief money to Americans OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Oil prices jump amid partial reopenings | Bill aims to block fossil fuel firms from coronavirus aid | Tribes to receive some coronavirus aid after court battle Tribes begin to receive partial coronavirus stimulus funding after court battle 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.”

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