HARTFORD, Conn. — A bill that would create a financial incentive for equipping Connecticut school buses with seat belts — but would not make them mandatory — was overwhelmingly approved by the state House of Representatives on Friday.
The bill, authored by Rep. Tony Guerrera, would reimburse towns for 50 percent of whatever they pay in the state’s 6-percent sales tax for new school buses equipped with three-point belts.
The sales tax on a $100,000 bus, for example, would be $6,000, so the reimbursement would be $3,000. The Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation recently estimated, in response to a bill in Minnesota, that equipping a large bus with three-point belts would cost $8,000 to $9,000.
The Connecticut program would be paid for by increasing the registration fee on suspended driver licenses from $125 to $175. The fee would apply to people reinstating their licenses after offenses like driving under the influence or habitual speeding.
Guerrera’s new proposal follows the recent defeat of his legislation to require seat belts on new school buses, which was voted down by a committee because of cost concerns.
“I believe all buses should have seat belts, but this is a step in the right direction,” Guerrera said.
He dedicated the bill to Vikas Parikh, a Rocky Hill High School student who died in a school bus accident in January.
The 125-18 vote in the House sends the legislation to the Senate for consideration.