Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Program
Summary of Grants for Transportation Service Providers
Established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) program was created to support transportation service providers affected by COVID-19. The window within which to submit an application for this Transportation Grant is open through July 19, 2021.
Who is Eligible
Eligible entities are transportation service providers that experienced annual revenue losses of 25% or more as a result of COVID-19, including:
- Motorcoach companies
- School bus companies
- Passenger vessel companies
- Pilot vessel companies
In addition to being a transportation service provider the entity must also be:
- In the private sector.
- Be organized in the United States.
- Have significant operations and a majority of employees in the United States.
- Have been in operation on March 1, 2020.
- Have experienced a revenue loss of 25% or more on an annual basis from 2020 compared to 2019, as a result of COVID-19.
- As of March 1, 2020 either have had 500 or fewer employees. Or
- Have had more than 500 employees and not received a loan under the Airlines Loan Program or National Security Loan Program.
- Must not have received Federal assistance from a PPP loan or Health Care Enhancement Act that when combined exceeds the total amount of revenue earned by the entity during calendar year 2019. This does not mean entities who received a PPP loan or other assistance do not qualify for this program, it just means the size of the grant may be reduced to ensure the total federal assistance the entity receives from all programs does not exceed 2019 revenues.
Eligible Uses of Grant Funds
Any grant funds not used for eligible expenses within one year of receipt of the grant must be returned to the Treasury Department. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to:
- Payroll costs and compensation of returning employees for lost pay and benefits during COVID-19.
- Acquisition of services, personal protective equipment, and other measures needed to protect workers and customers from COVID-19.
- Operation and maintenance costs related to existing capital equipment and facilities, such as rent, leases, insurance, and interest on regularly scheduled debt service.
- Repayment of principal on a debt accrued to maintain payroll.
Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds
Grant funds received may not be used for the following:
- Any payment or prepayment of principal on a debt that isn’t for the purpose of maintaining payroll.
- Capital expenditures, other than the maintenance of existing capital equipment and facilities as referenced above.
- Delinquent taxes.
- Any compensation of an individual employee in excess of an annualized salary rate of $100,000.
- Any tax imposed or withheld under chapters 21 (Federal Insurance Contributions Act), 22 (Railroad Retirement Act Tax), or 24 (Collection of Income Tax at Source on Wages) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
- Any compensation of an employee whose principal place of residence is outside the United States.
- Any qualified sick leave wages for which a credit is allowed under 7001 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (26 U.S.C. § 3111 note, Public Law 116–127).
- Any qualified family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7003 of that Act (26 U.S.C. § 3111 note, Public Law 116–127).
- Any bonus, raise in excess of inflation, or other form of additional employee compensation.
- Any expense for which funding or financing has been awarded, sub-awarded, or otherwise provided through another Federal program.
Tax Treatment of Grant
Grant money received is taxable income and the deductions paid with grant funds are deductible.
How to Apply
The CERTS portal will be open for applications through July 19, 2021. To gain access to the portal and submit an application, a company representative must first register with a username and password through the ID.me identity service. ID.me is a certified commercial identity provider, which will require an email and password, as well as two-factor authentication and the requirement to verify the representative’s identity by providing a government-issued photo ID. To register to obtain an ID.me account and access the CERTS portal click here. For a quick guide on the steps to creating a ID.me account click here.