As U.S. Senate committees take up a surface transportation reauthorization bill, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) has put out a call to ask that senators support continued protections for private school bus companies against transit encroachment.
"Any weakening of these provisions that have been in the law for over 40 years will threaten availability of dedicated yellow school bus transportation, the safest form of transportation," the association said in an action alert to members.
NSTA reported that on Nov. 9, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee marked up the highway title of a two-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, the first step in a long process to complete the legislation.
The bill will have to move through other committees before reaching the Senate floor. One of them is the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal transit programs.
NSTA sent a letter to members of that committee on Nov. 10. The association also asked its members who are constituents of senators on the committee to write to them, encouraging them to preserve the private school bus transportation and charter protections.
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NSTA members spoke with legislators about preserving federal school bus protections during the association's Capitol Hill Fly-In in May.
Federal law prevents federally funded public transit systems from providing most home-to-school school bus transportation in competition with private operators. Also, privately operated transportation companies, including school bus contractors, are protected from unfair competition in school activity trips and other charter services by federally funded public transit systems.