ASTA has written to President-elect Obama's Transportation Transition Team asking the Obama administration to tackle the job of creating a new federal government program to provide direct loans to cash-strapped small business owners. The move is a follow-up to ASTA's recent letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA). On November 18, ASTA wrote to the SBA asking that the agency use its existing authority to provide direct low-interest rate loans to small businesses.
“During this period of economic distress, travel agents and other small businesses would be greatly aided by such a lending program," ASTA said in its letter to Obama's transition team. "It is important to note that this proposal is not a bailout— rather, it is simply a means of providing credit (to be repaid at a later date) more rapidly than the usual process of obtaining SBA-backed small business loans from private lenders. A short-term expansion of SBA's direct lending programs would be a valuable lifeline for small businesses that are finding difficulty obtaining credit, and would be welcomed as an early sign of the Obama-Biden Administration's commitment to the small business community.”