b'LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORAdvocating for PVA Members Congressional hearings, meetings and other activities where potential legislation and The Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) haspolicy is discussed. Most recently, in efforts a long history of advocating effectively for itsto persuade Senators to cosponsor the CERTS members on a variety of fronts. Whether in- Act, several PVA members participated in teracting with Members of Congress and theirmeetings with key Senate staff. In a conference staff, the Administration, Coast Guard, andcall with Senator Mitch McConnells staff, other regulatory bodies, PVA leadership andPVA member Alan Bernstein, BB Riverboats, staff takes seriously its responsibility to ener- John Groundwater Newport, KY joined PVA staff to discuss the getically represent the interests of PVA Vesselplight of the passenger vessel industry amidst and Associate members alike.the coronavirus pandemic and urged that The lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemicSenate Majority Leader support the CERTS Act and other has had a debilitating impact on the passenger vesselfunding mechanisms such as a second round of PPP to industry. While some PVA vessel members are operating,help our industry. In a recent conference call with Senator their passenger carriage numbers have been dramati- Maria Cantwells staff, PVA President Colleen Stephens, cally reduced, some by as much as 90 percent or more.Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Tours, Valdez, AK Others have made the painful decision to cease opera- and PVA Member Kevin Clark, Argosy Cruises, Seattle, tions for 2020. My intent is not to dwell on the negative,WA both discussed the hugely negative impacts of the but rather emphasize the important message that PVA iscoronavirus pandemic on their businesses and regions and delivering daily to Congress and the Administration as itunderscored the need for long-term federal emergency seeks viable emergency funding options for the passengerassistance for the passenger vessel industry. vessel industry. Funds distributed from the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) have, for thePossible PPP Round 2 most part, been used up by those who received thoseMany PVA members have stressed the need for another funds. As a result, PVA has been urging Congress and theround of PPP but remain frustrated by the fact that they are Administration to consider more emergency funding toineligible to apply for a second round because they had assist PVA members weather the coronavirus pandemicpreviously participated in the program. PVA has taken over a longer period of time. every opportunity to stress the importance of allowing Special thanks must go to all of the PVA members whobusinesses who continue to suffer, like those in the so far have sent letters and contacted their Members ofpassenger vessel industry, to be able to take a double dip Congress to urge them to support the passenger vesselat PPP. This argument is aimed at convincing legislators industry. We sincerely appreciate your efforts and support. that PPP was not intended as a long term fix and the initial eight weeks of funding has long run out for those who CERTS Act and Financial Assistance initially applied and received funds while the pandemic for Passenger Vessel Operators careens onward. Last month, the PVA Board of Directors endorsed S.While Congress and the Administration continue to 4150, the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportationnegotiate (as of this writing) the fine points of a Phase 4 Services (CERTS) Act, which was introduced in the U.S.stimulus package there is some optimism that another Senate by Senator Jack Reed and Senator Susan Collins.round of PPP funding will be provided and that those who The CERTS Act would make $10 billion in grants and loanshave previously received funds would be allowed to apply available for providers of certain transportation services,for a second round. This, of course, is all subject to the including U.S. passenger vessels. outcome of negotiations but PVA will continue to under-PVA staff has been working vigorously with a coalitionscore the importance of providing another round of PPP.of trade associations, including the American Bus Association and other transportation-oriented lobbyingMain Street Lendinggroups, to encourage Senators to cosponsor the CERTS Act.Confusion continues to surround the Main Street PVA members have also been instrumental in this processLending Program. Announced in early April by the and they have successfully assisted in enrolling new SenateFederal Reserve, the program is intended to provide small cosponsors for this important legislation.to medium-sized businesses low interest loans to help As you can see, PVA member involvement is criticalthem weather the coronavirus pandemic. It is a five-year to these advocacy efforts. Members of Congress andloan with a graduated payback schedule. To date, there their staffs really do appreciate hearing directly fromhas been little activity in the loan program, and many are constituents, business owners and others who are directlycalling it a failure. Congress is currently examining the impacted by legislation and regulations. PVA understandsprogram to determine its deficiencies. PVA will continue to this and works to actively involve its members inLETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONTINUED ON PAGE 44AUGUST 2020FOGHORN 5'