Pennsylvania is one of only five states that limits the length of school buses to 40 feet
POTTSTOWN PA – A Lawrence County state senator wants to help untie the hand behind the bidding back of the Pottsgrove School District, or any other entity in Pennsylvania that needs to buy a school bus.
The Board of School Directors late last month (April 22, 2014) authorized the district to begin seeking bids for two new school buses and two 9-passenger vans for the Pottsgrove bus fleet. They will be included in the yet-to-be-approved 2014-2015 district budget, but must be paid for in advance so vendors have time to ensure the vehicles can be delivered before the school year starts in September, Business Administrator David Nester explained.
The order to be placed by Pottsgrove limits the length of those buses to no more than 40 feet, the maximum-sized bus allowed on state roadways. Problem is, the availability of 40-foot buses is shrinking and their prices are rising. Most bus manufacturers now make vehicles 45 feet long, the maximum length allowable in all but five states.
That’s where Sen. Elder Vogel enters the picture. He’s proposed legislation that would eliminate the 5-foot discrepancy in the Commonwealth’s school bus regulations.
Vogel contends manufacturers have little reason to make 40-foot buses when the majority of buyers are looking for 45-foot ones, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reports. School districts that own or manage their own bus fleets would benefit from the cost savings a 45-foot bus offers, he added.
“By allowing school districts and school bus contractors to purchase longer buses, they will be able to better control their costs by streamlining routes. Furthermore, it will allow school districts and contractors to choose from among the full selection of vehicles available with the latest technology and safety features to best meet the needs of their districts,” Vogel told The Independent.
His Senate Bill 1312 passed the Senate unanimously and is now before the House of Representatives for consideration.
Related (to the Pottsgrove schools’ 2014-’15 budget):