WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) moved to thwart efforts in the Senate that threatened the federal fuel tax exemption for school buses.
Through a grassroots effort of letters and phone calls, the association called on members of the Senate Finance Committee to help defend against any effort to undo the exemption, which association officials said “would have been tantamount to imposing a tax increase on private school bus transportation providers.”
The Finance Committee held a nearly four-hour mark-up of the tax title to the surface transportation reauthorization bill on Feb. 7. The bill extends federal fuel taxes and includes a variety of provisions to secure additional revenue to augment highway trust fund revenues in order to fund the Senate two-year bill that funds highway, transit and motor carrier safety programs.
Though repeal of the school bus and motorcoach fuel tax exemptions was under consideration, NSTA said that due in large part to its timely outreach efforts, no repeal provision was included in the chairman’s bill. It was also not subject to any amendments or offered as an offset for other amendments that proposed to change the bill’s revenue provisions.
NSTA said that Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) helped to ensure that the repeal provision was not included in the bill.
“We salute their efforts to bringing forth a fair and balanced surface transportation reauthorization bill,” association officials said. “NSTA will continue to advocate for preservation of the school bus fuel tax exemption as the bill moves to the Senate floor.”