As part of its January monthly newsletter, the American Car Rental Association recaps its recent progress on behalf of the industry:
After eight months of bickering and negotiations, Congress and President Trump finally came together on a $900 billion pandemic relief/economic stimulus package in late December 2020. Of particular interest to ACRA members in the “4.0” pandemic relief/economic stimulus bill are the following provisions:
- MAG Relief – the 4.0 law contains $2 billion in new grants to airports and requires the airports to use $200 million of those funds to provide rent abatement and MAG relief for airport concessionaires, including car rental companies.
A coalition of concessionaire trade associations, including ACRA, released a statement supporting the concessionaire MAG relief efforts of several members of the House and Senate.
- CERTS Grants – the 4.0 law also contains $2 billion in grants for “providers of transportation services” (CERTS program). Bus and ferry companies are specified as eligible under the law, but the Departments of Treasury and Transportation can identify additional providers, such as car rental companies, to qualify for the grants as well.
ACRA sent letters to House Speaker Pelosi in mid-December, DOT Secretary Chao, and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin last week seeking inclusion of car rental companies under the CERTS program.
- PPP Program – for smaller ACRA members, the 4.0 law expands and extends the PPP loan program, clarifying that forgiven PPP loans need not be classified as income and permitting qualified small businesses that have suffered at least a 25% reduction in gross revenue due to the pandemic to secure a second PPP loan covering three months of payroll expenses.
- Tax Provisions – the 4.0 bill extended the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the Employer Tax Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave through 2025 and extended and expanded the Employee Retention Tax Credit from the CARES Act.
In addition to the stimulus provisions, ACRA sent a letter to DOT Secretary Chao seeking enforcement discretion with respect to deactivating bolster airbags for rental vehicles equipped with hand controls.
DOT is engaged in a rulemaking on the topic, but rental companies are providing the hand controls now to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ACRA also welcomes the following new regular members: VTI Van Rentals, Chris Watson, president, Brooklyn, NY; Chandler Industries, LLC, David Chandler, president, Folly Beach, SC; and Electro Auto LLC, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Greg Scott is president of Merevir Consulting and the public affairs representative for the American Car Rental Association.