June 5, 2020

PPP Flexibility Act of 2020

Both the U.S. House and Senate have passed H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 giving critical flexibility needed by PPP loan recipients to achieve loan forgiveness. It awaits the President's action. As a recap, the bill does the following:

  • Extend the PPP loan forgiveness period to include costs incurred over 24 weeks after a loan is issued or through Dec. 31 (whichever comes first); businesses that received a loan before the measure is enacted could keep the current eight-week period.
  • Extend to Dec. 31 from June 30 a period in which loans can be forgiven if businesses restore staffing or salary levels that were previously reduced. The provision would apply to worker and wage reductions made from Feb. 15 through 30 days after enactment of the CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27.
  • Maintain forgiveness amounts for companies that document their inability to rehire workers employed as of Feb. 15, and their inability to find similarly qualified workers by the end of the year. Under the modified bill, companies would be covered separately if they show that they couldn’t resume business levels from before Feb. 15 because they were following federal requirements for sanitization or social distancing.
  • Extend the deadline to apply for a PPP loan to Dec. 31 from June 30.
  • Require at least 60% of forgiven loan amounts to come from payroll expenses.
  • Repeal a provision from the CARES Act that barred companies with forgiven PPP loans from deferring their payroll tax payments.
  • Allow borrowers to defer principal and interest payments on PPP loans until the SBA compensates lenders for any forgiven amounts, instead of the current six-month deferral period. Borrowers that don’t apply for forgiveness would be given at least 10 months after the program expires to start making payments.
  • Establish a minimum loan maturity period of five years following an application for loan forgiveness, instead of the current two-year deadline set by the SBA. That provision would apply to PPP loans issued after the measure is enacted, though borrowers and lenders could agree to extend current loans
The House has filed a Surface Transportation Bill. The Act is titled: The Investment in America Act by House T&I Chairman DeFazio (D). The bill provides $494 billion over 5 years. 

The first year of the bill (FY21) is an extension of current law (FAST ACT policy). In order to stimulate economic recovery, the bill significantly increases funding in FY21 with increases to highways ($14.7B) and transit ($5.8B). Highway, transit and safety funds will be available up to 100 percent federal share eliminating the need for local match in FY21. 

Before you get excited, it is not clear how Congress intends to pay for this bill and it has a long way to go before it would become law.

Meanwhile on the Senate side, the Senate EPW Committee approved S. 2302, its 5-year America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) of 2019. The bill authorized $294 billion for federal highway programs. The Senate has not introduced transit or rail authorizing legislation. 
ACEC of Louisiana spent time with Congressman Garrett Graves on Monday, June 1, 2020 discussing federal legislation including COVID-19 relief packages and transportation and water infrastructure recovery funding.

Click below to access a recording of the meeting until June 15):
For those of you who were unable to participate in Thursday's zoom meeting with DOTD staff relative to the new consultant selection process and risk based audit, please find a link below to the recording. They have edited the evaluation form from what was presented at the DOT conference in March adding to item 1. Provide a brief description of the project and the evaluated deliverables. ”  

Governor Edwards announced June 1 that Louisiana entered the Phase II reopening of the state's economy effective today, June 5.
Thursday, June 25th, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST
Presenters: Javier Baldor and Eileen Canady BST Global
ACEC Statement of Support for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity in a Difficult Time

The American Council of Engineering Companies released the following statement of support for equity, inclusion, and diversity in America: 

“The engineering profession has always been grounded in integrity, fairness and service to community. Engineers build communities. We create space and by extension, we create social experience. We support equality and respect for all humankind. We believe in providing equitable opportunities within our profession to support untapped potential both within our workforce and within the communities we serve. And we have the power to foster progress by breaking down the physical barriers that can inhibit economic and social equity. 

Those are the principles that guide our community through this difficult time. Through ACEC we will embrace inclusion and diversity and continue to focus our members on ways to lift people up to become their best selves and to make our companies models of the values we embrace.” 
ACEC releases Wave 7 Survey highlights. How does your experience compare?

  • Perceptions of the CARES Act are at their highest level— 75% of firms rate it positively.
  • 71% of firms feel they will be able to use the PPP loan within the eight week “forgiveness” window, 29% say they will not be able to or are not sure.
  • Nearly eight out of ten firms (79%) say extending the PPP Loan Forgiveness window from eight weeks to 16 or 24 weeks would have a positive impact.
  • Firms report working on new projects directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic response (up from 12% to 16%.)
  • Firms feel it will take 12 to 18 months for a return to normal (up from 36% to 47%.)
  • Majority of firms (61%) have either already re-opened or never closed.
  • Firms that have created a plan for re-opening continues to increase (from 42% to 74%.)
  • 60% of firms are likely to allow air travel to in-person client meetings in the next six months, travel by car is even more likely at 83%.
  • Few firms think they will allow air travel to conferences / meetings / events with more than 50 attendees (less than 20%). The event will need to have 10 or fewer attendees to attract 45% of firms.
  • Travel by car to conferences / meetings / events compared to air travel is more likely. The event will need to have 20 or fewer attendees to attract half of firms.

See Full Report here .