Originally Posted 5.12.2021
Are you a motorcoach company (including local & intercity fixed route services, commuter service, and/or charter or tour service), school bus company, passenger vessel company, and pilotage company that has experienced annual revenue losses of 25 percent or more as a result of COVID-19? Then you might be eligible for the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Grant.
Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Grant Program
This is a grant program is still under development and has not opened for applications currently.
Offered by the Federal Government through the Department of Treasury as part of the March 11, 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, this grant program provides transportation companies across the nation with access to $2 billion in grants to support the loss in revenue and operating activities the pandemic has imposed on these businesses.
Unlike other programs, CERTS grants are non-competitive. That is, all applicants that meet the eligibility criteria and submit a complete and accurate application will be awarded a grant. To determine the entity's funding amount, the Department of Treasury will review each applicant's financial information and apply a formula that provides each approved applicant with an equitable, proportionate share of the funding. The primary factor in the grant-sizing formula used to determine the grant amount offered to an individual's approved applicant will be the applicant's lost revenues from 2019 to 2020.
Who is an Eligible Recipient?
Criteria. To be eligible for a CERTS grant, an entity must:
1. Be a private sector company, including a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or sole proprietorship;
2. Be established or organized in the United States or pursuant to Federal law;
3. Have significant operations and a majority of employees based in the United States;
4. Have been in operation on March 1, 2020;
5. Have experienced a revenue loss of 25 percent or more, on an annual, calendar year basis from 2019 to 2020, as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19;
6. Be one of the four following types of transportation service providers, as demonstrated in accordance with the section below “Demonstrating Eligibility as a Qualifying Transportation Service Provider:”
Motorcoach transportation service provider* Tour companies see "*" below
School bus transportation service provider
Passenger vessel transportation service provider
Pilotage vessel transportation service provider;
7. As of March 1, 2020, either
Have had 500 or fewer than 500 full-time, part-time, or temporary employees and not been a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate of any other entity with a combined total workforce of more than 500 full-time, part-time, or temporary employees, or
Have had more than 500 full-time, part-time, or temporary employees and not received a loan under the Airlines Loan Program or National Security Loan Program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act1 (or have been a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate of any entity with a combined workforce of more than 500 full-time, part-time, or temporary employees if such subsidiary, parent, or affiliate did not receive such a loan);and
8. At the time of application, have not received Federal assistance provided in response to COVID–19 under the CARES Act2 , the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act3 , or any other provision of law, that when combined exceeds the total amount of revenue earned by the entity during calendar year 2019. (To be clear, participation in other Federal assistance programs will not render a company ineligible for a CERTS grant unless the assistance already received exceeds the company’s 2019 revenues, and the size of a CERTS grant may need to be reduced to ensure that total Federal assistance from all programs does not exceed 2019 revenues.)
*“Motorcoach transportation service provider” or “motorcoach company” means a private sector company, registered as an interstate carrier at the federal level or an intrastate carrier at the state level, whose principal business is providing passenger transportation services using one or more buses with an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment (commonly known as an “over-the-road bus”) for local and intercity fixed-route service, commuter service, and/or charter or tour service (including tour or excursion services that includes features in addition to bus transportation, such as meals, lodging, admission to points of interest or special attractions, or the services of a guide).
What can funds be used on?
Eligible Use of Funds. Subject to other rules and conditions in the CERTS statute and grant agreement, grantees may use grant funds for operating expenses, including but not limited to:
Payment of payroll costs (see the definition of “payroll costs” above) and compensation of returning employees for lost pay and benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic;
The acquisition of services, personal protective equipment, and other measures needed to protect workers and customers from COVID–19; and
Operations and maintenance of existing capital equipment and facilities, such as rent, leases, insurance, and interest on regularly scheduled debt service
Where do we go to apply for this program?
The CERTS program is administered by the Department of Treasury. Continue to regularly check the website for the opening of the application portal. There is not an expected opening date.
Additional Random Questions Answered
How much can a business receive?
This amount will be determined once the 4-week application period is closed.
Is the CERTS program open for all eligible businesses at once?
It is our understanding that all eligible businesses will need to apply during the 4-week application period and the Department of Treasury will allocate funding using a formula that takes into consideration those who have been impacted the most.
What can I do to prepare?
Read through the CERTS Guidelines Issued May 6. Page 11 has a section on preparing for the application. Also, note, the Guidelines states "To gain access to the application portal and submit an application, a company representative must be registered with a username and password through the ID.me identity service... In anticipation of Treasury opening the application portal, interested companies may register to obtain an ID.me username and password by going to https://portal.treasury.gov/cares and clicking on the option “Or create an ID.me account.”
Is an entity that applied for and received a PPP loan eligible to apply for a CERTS?
Yes. Participation in other Federal assistance programs will not render a company ineligible for a CERTS grant unless the assistance already received exceeds the company’s 2019 revenues, and the size of a CERTS grant may need to be reduced to ensure that total Federal assistance from all programs does not exceed 2019 revenues.
Is a seasonal employer eligible for the CERTS program?
It is our current understanding that yes, seasonal businesses can apply as long as you can show you experienced a loss of 25% or more and have been in operation on March 1, 2020.