The COVID-19 pandemic kept the Bus-In at bay for two years, but last week saw the National School Transportation Association's legislative event return to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
During the April 5-8 event at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center, NSTA members engaged with elected officials and policymakers to highlight the importance of student transportation.
- Bronze Bus - Legislative Champion Awards for prime sponsors of the STOP for School Buses Act, including U.S. senators Gary Peters (Michigan) and Todd Young (Indiana) and representatives Julia Brownley (California) and Jackie Walorski (Indiana). Provisions of the STOP Act were included in the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA) that was signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021. It came in response to a fatal school bus crash in Indiana in 2018.
- Presentations from officials with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). EPA outlined the Clean School Bus Program - a $5-billion grant program designed to upgrade existing school bus fleets to zero or near-zero emission vehicles.
- Panel discussion called "Working with Your State Legislatures - Coordination Between State and National Associations." This program highlighted the importance of collaboration between national and state partners and how this coordination can lead to successful legislative and regulatory outcomes. Speakers included Cherie Hime, executive director of the Wisconsin School Bus Association, NSTA counsel Rich Kelly, and Curt Macysyn, executive director of the NSTA.
Said NSTA President Carina Noble: "NSTA's return to Washington was a success, as evidenced by record attendance and an increase in association membership in recent weeks and months. We are grateful for the participation of our members and the support of our federal agency partners, who provided us with key information on programs under their purview that directly impact student transportation."
Macysyn said hopes for more industry engagement at the association's annual meeting and convention, currently scheduled for July 24-27 in Niagara Falls.