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Peoria Charter will join motorcoach rally in DC pushing for more federal aid

PEORIA CHARTER

Peoria Charter already received aid under the federal Payment Protection Program, but owner Bill Winkler says his company and his industry need more.

On Monday, two Peoria Charter coach buses will leave from Urbana and drive to DC to join hundreds of other motorcoach companies asking for more federal aid. Winkler says he was thankful to receive the original PPP loan and keep paying his staff. However, that money will soon run out. 1000 coaches will drive through the nation's capital next week, lobbying for more aid, similar to what has been given to public transit and airlines.

"And what we are asking for is only $10 billion in grants, and $5 billion in long term, 0 percent interest rate loans, these 3000 motorcoach companies have no income coming in right now, nothing," said Winkler.

Deemed a non-essential business by the state, Peoria Charter has had no revenue during the pandemic. The business still has one daily trip from Urbana to O'Hare airport, but they used to have 10. They need to have at least 30 passengers to break even for a trip, their average passenger count during the crisis has been around 12.

Winkler's hope is that another boost from the federal government will help the company remain operational until the start of the school year. He also asked Governor Pritzker to reconsider his re-opening timeline. Right now, Peoria Charter could not resume operations until Phase 4.

"The way it's set now, June 24, I can't even hope for any business at all, I'm out of business," said Winkler.

Winkler says in his mind, he feels the current local COVID numbers could allow for such an adjustment.

Andy Weber

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