Eleven Maine transportation companies that have suffered financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to receive aid from a $1.6 billion federal relief package.

The allocations for individual applicants are still being worked out by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Some companies have already received about 80 percent of their allotments.

Among the grant recipients in Maine are: Chebeague Transportation Company, which provides passenger ferry service between Cousins Island in Yarmouth and Chebeague Island; BayCycle, a human-powered party boat docked in Portland; and VIP Tour & Charter Bus Company in Portland.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a ranking member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, made the announcement Tuesday. Collins and Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, co-sponsored the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) grant program.

“Bus and motorcoach companies, ferries and tour boats sustain good-paying jobs and provide critical transportation services,” Collins said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic took an enormous toll on these businesses, many of which are small and family owned.”

Other Maine companies qualifying for shares of the grants include the Monhegan Boat Line, which transports passengers from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island; Acadia National Park Tours and Transport in Bar Harbor; Portland Pilots; Isherwood Enterprises; Allen Associates; Downeast Windjammer Cruise Lines of Bar Harbor; John T. Cyr & Sons of Old Town; and Northeast Charter and Tour Company of Lewiston.

A total of 1,300 charter bus, school bus, motorcoach, and pilot and passenger vessel companies nationally have qualified for CERTS funding. The funds are designed to help maintain payroll, hire back laid-off employees, and to cover overhead and operational expenses such as rent, leases, insurance or interest on debt service.

The treasury department stopped accepting applications July 19. Applicants had to certify that they have experienced an annual revenue loss of 25 percent or more as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.


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