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Economic Development Government News Statewide

SBA opens loans for businesses hit by bridge collapse

Katie Tabeling

WASHINGTON, D.C. The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened a round of low-interest federal loans for small businesses in the region that may have been impacted by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

The SBA has deemed all three counties of Delaware as well as the entire state of Maryland as well as Washington D.C. and areas of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are eligible for federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) last week. The program can grant up to $2 million to small business, agricultural cooperatives and private nonprofits to help pay the bills.

Terms of the program provide loans with an interest rate of 4% for small businesses and 3.25% for private nonprofits for up to 30 years. Interest does not begin to accrue until 12 months from the first disaster loan reimbursement.

More than 1,000 businesses have applied in the last two weeks, according to the SBA, though there is no immediate breakdown of how many states have sought loans.

“The SBA joins the entire federal family in grieving for the lives lost in the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge,” SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman said in a statement. “As Baltimore and the wider community mourn and start to rebuild, the SBA and the Biden-Harris Administration stand ready to help local small businesses get through the economic disruption caused by the bridge collapse.”

The SBA made the loans available after Maryland Gov. Wes Moore formally requested the disaster declaration to open the loans to businesses that temporarily lost revenue due to the closure of a major traffic corridor as well as the Port of Baltimore. 

More than 1.3 million trucks cross the Key Bridge per year, according to the American Trucking Association. That notably includes those that carry hazardous materials that now have to take 30 miles of detours because they are prohibited from using the Baltimore tunnels. 

As for the Port of Baltimore, it generated 15,000 direct jobs with nearly 140,000 additional indirect jobs, involved with shipping cars, sugar, soybeans and more exported and imported there. In Delaware, the Port of Wilmington has handled at least eight vessels that were rerouted, meanwhile 

This will mark the second time in at least five years small businesses in the region will be able to tap into the EIDL program, as it helped hundreds of businesses recover financially, specifically those in a low-income area. Businesses of a certain size were also able to tap into the advance and supplemental grants, worth $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

When Guzman first took the helm of the SBA, she expanded the limit of the COVID-19 pandemic EIDL loans from $150,000 to $500,000. The goal was to expand it to $2 million.

The filing deadline for EIDL applications is Dec. 30.

For more information on how to apply, visit sba.gov/disaster

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