b'NEWSWIREPVA Lobbies Congress for More Funding forGrants Under CERTS, Restaurant Aid ProgramsI n 2021, many passenger vessel operatorsThere is no guarantee that Congress will enactmake the case that additional help is justified obtainedemergencyassistancefromthethislegislationtorestartCERTSandRRF.and that this legislation should be approved. Treasury Department through its CERTSSomeSenatorsbelievethatthereboundingIn addition, PVA is lobbying for an amend-grant program. Some PVA members that op- economy means that the need for more pan- ment making CERTS awards nontaxable for erate dinner cruise vessels succeeded in gettingdemic economic relief has receded. Neverthe- purposes of federal income taxes (current law help from the Small Business Administrationless, PVA is working closely with its allies in thesays that a CERTS grant is subject to federal (SBA)underitsRestaurantRevitalizationbus/motorcoach and restaurant industries toincome taxes).Fund (RRF). As we enter 2022, PVA and its al-lies are lobbying Congress to appropriate more funds for both programs so they can provide additional grants this year.PVAachievedakeylegislativegoalwhen Congress enacted the Treasury Departments CERTS(CoronavirusEconomicRelieffor TransportationServices)grantprogram. CERTS grants were distributed to private pas-senger vessel companies, as well as private oper-ators of motor coaches and school buses. Of the $2 billion approved for the CERTS program, about $358 million was awarded to 134 passen-ger vessel operators, the vast majority of whom are PVA members. As helpful as these grants were, they fell way short of covering recipients total financial shortfalls. Some vessel operators who surely would have qualified for a grant, did not submit applications for help when the CERTS program was open for applications.The RRF was plagued with problems (primarily because Congress underestimated the amount of funding that would be sought). Prior to the applicationperiod,PVAsuccessfullyworked with officials of the SBA to ensure that opera-tors of dining cruise vessels would be eligible to seek RRF grants. Because of the funding short-fall, only one in three of the qualified applicants nationwideobtainedassistance.Whilesome PVA members obtained aid, other equally-qual-ifieddiningvesseloperatorswerefrustrated when the funds ran out before they received any.LeadersoftheSenateCommitteeonSmall Business and Entrepreneurship will soon pro-pose legislation to provide additional pandem-ic-related economic relief to the private sector. One component of the bill will include a sec-ond round of CERTS grants for prior grant recipients, as well as an opportunity for a qual-ified company that did not receive a CERTS grant in 2021 to apply for one this year. Anoth-er provision would infuse the RRF with addi-tional dollars so that applicants who received nothing last year can obtain grants in 2022.39 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022'