WASHINGTON, D.C. — The pupil transportation industry has gotten an affirmative response to its recent campaign for the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund a program touting the benefits of school buses.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a letter to members of Congress that, starting in fiscal year 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will create educational materials “highlighting the benefits of school buses and promoting their use.”
The materials will include “informational brochures, flyers and press releases,” LaHood said. “The NHTSA will work with highway safety partners to distribute the materials and spread the message of the benefits of school bus ridership across the nation.”
Pupil transportation industry representatives will be meeting with NHTSA staff members to discuss further details of the educational campaign.
In December, members of the American School Bus Council met with legislators and federal agency staff to present their plan: the creation of a federally-funded public education campaign to promote greater use of school buses.
A letter to LaHood was drafted, outlining the safety, environmental and financial benefits of utilizing school buses, and asking him to dedicate agency funding for the campaign.
Then, people from all across the industry contacted their U.S. representatives and senators, urging them to sign the letter to LaHood.
A total of 49 members of the House and eight senators signed onto the letter.
In addition to pledging his support for the campaign, LaHood noted in his letter to those members of Congress that the latest National Household Travel Survey shows school bus ridership holding steady around 40 percent over the past 40 years.
“I am encouraged by this finding, given that the safety of the nation’s transportation system is my top priority,” LaHood said, “especially when it involves the safety of our children.”