March 30, 2020
CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS PACKAGE AND FCC ACTIONS ON 5.9GHZ BAND
On Friday, President Trump signed into law the third COVID-19 economic recovery bill, HR 748, the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is designed to fight the nationwide financial impact of the coronavirus.
The estimated $2 trillion package could provide loans, loan guarantees, grants, and other investments to a wide swath of ITS America’s broad membership. The CARES Act includes $25 billion in grants for public transit agencies at up to 100% federal share. Approximately $13.9 billion will go out to transit agencies under the Urbanized Area Formula Grants, roughly $1.8 billion will go out under the Rural Area Formula Grants, approximately $7.6 billion will go out under the State of Good Repair Program, and approximately $1.7 billion will go out under the Growing States and High Density States Formula Program. The bill requires the funds to be apportioned within seven days of enactment.
The bill includes $500 billion from the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund for loans, loan guarantees, and other investments, including $454 billion to businesses with more than 100 full-time employees, states, and municipalities, and $17 billion for businesses deemed essential to maintaining national security.
IT includes $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans through a new Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, which is defined at 500 or fewer employees. If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven. The bill Includes $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020.
The CARES Act creates a new temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program for the Gig and freelance economy workers.
It includes $14 billion for higher education and provides $150 billion for emergency aid for state and local governments. The bill also contains language that clarifies that states can issue special permits for overweight vehicles for the duration of the fiscal year. The CARES Act is the largest emergency economic legislation in U.S history, and Washington is already turning its attention to a 4th COVID-19 response bill. ITS America President & CEO Shailen Bhatt said “In a time of crisis, it is critical to not make short-term decisions that could have unknown long-term consequences for life-saving technologies.”
Also last week, the FCC (FCC) extended the reply comment period on the proposal to give away a majority of the 5.9GHz band. ITS America, AASHTO and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation had requested a 90-day extension to the reply comment period given the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Comments are now due on April 27.