— Officials have decided to keep the state’s school bus safety inspection program, which had been targeted for elimination due to budget cuts.
Greg Bird, spokesman for the state budget office in Lansing, told The Monroe Evening News that the reason for the change of plans was unexpected added revenue.
“It was an item that the governor did propose making changes,” said Bird. “But the school bus safety program will continue.”
Had the safety inspection program, which costs about $1.3 million a year, been eliminated, officials said they would have expected a decrease in the quality of school buses statewide.
In the 2004-05 school year inspections, 85 percent of the 17,718 buses tested were approved, which was up from 83 percent in the previous term.
Although the safety inspection program will continue, there have been some relatively minor changes, such as the closing of three state police posts. Still, transportation officials at the state and local levels expressed relief that the program survived.
Sharron VanCampen, commander of the Michigan State Police Bus Inspection Unit, said she was expecting the worst. “It’s a pleasant surprise that the program is saved,” she said. “Obviously, the legislature and the governor believe that child safety is a primary concern.”