During the last $2 trillion stimulus package, approximately $349 billion was loaned to small businesses in need. Congress added this separate stipulation to ensure non-essential companies shut down by the ongoing pandemic were able to stay afloat until the ordeal ends.
That said, a business is considered small if they have less than 500 employees, be worth less than $750,000, and earn less than $35.5 million in sales per year. Although this seems pretty straight forward, the distinction of whether a company is a small business came into question when many large corporations applied for the loans instead.
Some trucking companies may be eligible for these small business loans,but with many of the loans going to companies that shouldn’t get them, this might result in some trucking companies without the funds they need to survive.
And unlike the airline industry, the trucking industry didn’t get any special bailouts or programs. But that might be about to change.
The Trucking Industry Received No Special Help
Bill Sullivan, Executive Vice President of Advocacy at the American Trucking Association (ATA), said that when the stimulus package was announced, “We didn’t have enough of a sense of the economic impact at that point, other than we probably at that moment didn’t need a handout”.
But given the wide scope of effects on the industry, such as closed-down restaurants, gas stations, and hotels, it is starting to become clear just how badly the trucking industry is hurting right now.
To address some of these issues, the ATA is conducting an in-depth investigation into the effects of COVID-19 on the trucking industry.Thus far, the ATA has determined that:
- Food and medical supplies deliveries are at an all time high
- Retail deliveries have significantly reduced
- Fuel hauls are virtually nonexistent
Taking this into consideration, the ATA plans to request loans with low-interest rates for trucking companies negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Another topic ATA aims to address is relief from taxes applied to semi-truck purchases until at least 2021. Sullivan commented, “We believe something like a holiday through 2021 of the federal excise tax is a really good idea”.
Beyond semi-truck purchases and loans, the ATA is working in collaboration with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) to address the following.
- Relief from Hours of Service rules
- Extended deadlines for license renewal
- Relaxed registration regulation
- Keeping rest stops open
- Address accessibility to meal creation businesses
What About the Small Business Loans?
That said, the ATA and OOIDA appear to have very different takes on whether or not trucking companies are getting adequate access to the small business loans offered in the $2 trillion stimulus package.
Sullivan from ATA has stated that they have received “largely positive stories.”
Todd Spencer, President of OOIDA, has not had the same experience.
According to Spencer, “Unfortunately, our members are experiencing significant difficulties in securing this assistance and encountering a chasm between what was touted when this legislation was enacted and what they are actually receiving”.
With small business loans in question, the push for special targeted assistance for the trucking industry is likely to go forward.