WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American School Bus Council (ASBC) is drumming up support for a national campaign to promote school bus transportation.
Members of the industry coalition met with legislators and federal agency staff in Washington last week to present the plan. ASBC is seeking $5 million in federal funds.
The funding would support the design and implementation of “a two-year national public education campaign to promote the safety, environmental, economic, energy and academic benefits of increased school bus ridership,” as ASBC describes it.
Bob Riley, an ASBC member and executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, told SBF that the plan went over well.
“It was a very successful initial step,” he said. “We were well received by the federal staffers and legislators. For the most part, they felt that ASBC had a worthwhile message to convey to the public.”
The meetings were with representatives of the Department of Transportation and the EPA and with 12 members of the House and Senate. Riley said that follow-up meetings will be arranged.
ASBC touted the safety record of the yellow school bus and made the case that with the public’s increasing interest in “going green,” the time is right to promote reliance on the school bus to get children to and from school. The typical school bus replaces an average of 36 cars on the road, resulting in a national savings of 2.3 billion gallons of fuel per year, according to the coalition’s data.
A federally-funded public education and awareness program is needed, ASBC said. It would target parents of school-age children, driving-age students, and local and state elected officials.
The funding would provide “a Website and online resource center, aggressive media relations, public service announcements, materials development, grassroots and community outreach, partnerships with community organizations and select media,” ASBC said.