SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. — Key challenges facing the school transportation industry and successes over the past year were discussed at the 42nd annual convention of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), held July 23-26 along the shores of Lake Tahoe near the Nevada-California border.
Presided over by NSTA President John Corr (president of The Trans Group in New York), the meeting brought together contractors from across the U.S. and Canada to share ideas on topics such as the new emissions standards for 2007 diesel engines, industry association collaboration and lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., including the passage of a House resolution that embraces the goals and ideals of School Bus Safety Week.
Corr opened the general session by reviewing the past year and citing the accomplishments of the association. He also set the goals for the coming year. The session continued with legislative and regulatory updates from NSTA lobbyist Becky Weber and Robin Leeds, the association’s governmental liaison.
One of the major accomplishments on the legislative front was the passage of House Resolution 498, honoring the goals and ideals of School Bus Safety Week. The resolution passed the House by a vote of 424-0 on July 18. There were 63 co-sponsors to the bill.
NSTA Marketing Manager Ann Henley provided information about two new benefits to association members — an insurance program through Keystone Insurance and a tire purchase program.
The insurance program offers broad coverage of fundamental insurance protection of buildings, contents, fleet exposures and general business operations, as well as coverage for year-round non-school related activities and broad commercial auto coverage.
Robert Pudlewski of Laidlaw Education Services said the tire purchase program offers special pricing on Michelin tires.
The general session continued with a panel discussion about recent privatization successes. NSTA President-Elect Barry Stock (senior vice president with National Express Corp.) moderated the session. The panel was made up of Brendan Clifford of Huntington Coach in New York, Blake Krapf of Krapf Bus Companies in Pennsylvania and Carina Noble of Durham School Services in Illinois.
Pudlewski provided association members with an update on the new federal emissions standards for 2007 diesel engines. These tightened standards will require engine manufacturers to reduce tailpipe emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter by 90 percent. Engines manufactured after Jan. 1 will be more expensive than their predecessors and will require ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, which should be available in most parts of the country this fall.
A new slate of directors and officers was elected during the meeting. The new slate includes Blake Krapf, the newest at-large director, taking the place of Phil Paige of Paige Bus Enterprises in Riverdale, Ill. Corr thanked Paige for his excellent work as chair of the Awards Committee, as well as for his dedication to the NSTA and his role as an at-large delegate of the board.
The NSTA has agreed to work on a new project under the direction of Habitat for Humanity. The organization is working on building and rebuilding homes in New Orleans. The event is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2007. Specific location and details on how to get involved will be available in October.
It was also announced that NSTA is now the administrator of the national School Bus Watch Program and will manage enrollment.