This week, Congress announced a bipartisan agreement on a fourth legislative package to respond to the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Yesterday, the Senate passed H.R. 266, the “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act”, by voice vote. The House of Representatives is expected to consider and pass the bill tomorrow. It will then go to the President for his signature.
The bill provides $484 billion in additional relief for small businesses and funding for healthcare-related impacts and supplies. Importantly, the bill provides $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The PPP was established in the CARES Act and its funding ($349 billion) was exhausted within two weeks. The bill requires that a portion of the funds be distributed through small business lending by minority financial institutions, community development financial institutions, insured institutions and credit unions with a certain amount of assets, and other institutions. For more information on SBA’s PPP, please click here.
In addition, the bill also provides $60 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), including $50 billion of EIDL loan subsidies and $10 billion of EIDL grants through the SBA. Under EIDL grants, small businesses can request up to $10,000 in advance emergency cash to assist in replenishing a temporary loss of revenue as a result of COVID-19. The loan advance will not have to be repaid. For more information on SBA’s EIDL, please click here.
To view the bill, please click here.
FTA Waives Local Match for COVID-19 Expenses
This week, in updated responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that it has waived the remaining local share requirement for previously appropriated Urbanized Area Formula Grants (49 U.S.C. § 5307) and Rural Area Formula Grants (49 U.S.C. § 5311) for COVID-19-related expenses. This 100 percent federal share applies to all FY 2020 and prior year funds under these formula programs and is available for operating expenses or capital projects. However, this authority is only available for COVID-19-related expenses.
In an earlier FAQ posted in March, FTA had permitted previously appropriated funding under § 5307 or § 5311 programs to be used at an 80 percent federal share for COVID-19-specific capital or operating expenses. Under normal circumstances, operating expenses are only eligible for a 50 percent share, and large urban areas are not able to use these funds for operating expenses.
In addition, in its updated FAQ, FTA clarified that the increased federal share and expanded eligibilities apply to all available § 5307 and § 5311 funds stating that “Section 5307 and Section 5311 funding that has not already been disbursed by the recipient or passed its period of availability may be used for COVID-19 response at the increased Federal share of 100%.” FTA also stated that “recipients that have open Section 5307 or Section 5311 awards that are within their period of availability, and otherwise would be available to be amended or have the budget revised, may use those funds at the increased federal share for COVID-19 response.” Finally, FTA stated that any new applications for awards may use the increased federal share without regard to the funding account year.
To view FTA’s updated FAQs, please click here. See FTA’s Responses to Questions ER16 – ER20.