New Law Puts Expiration Date On Older School Buses; First-Year Taxpayer Savings Put At $56 Million

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tennessee lawmakers approved legislation on Monday that sponsors said will raise the safety standards for school buses in the state and save millions in taxpayer dollars. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and amended by House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge. 

The new law puts an expiration date on school buses that have been in service for longer than 18 years, unless they have logged fewer than 200,000 miles. Buses with over 18 years but under 200,000 miles may receive an annual exemption until they reach the 200,000 mile mark.

Rep. Dean said, "Under current law, before a used bus can be extended beyond 15 years, it must have four annual inspections in Tennessee. In other words, you have to drive it four years before its 15th birthday. That was changed to two annual inspections. Current law was only allowing a used bus that was less than 11 years old to be kept in service. Now they can buy one that's 13, get it inspected at 13 and 14, then it can be kept in service after 15 years old."

He said an estimated first-year taxpayer savings of $56 million "will come from the fact that local LEAs won't have to go through the cost of replacing buses that are still in good safe operating condition, just because they are 17 years old."

Rep. Travis said, “The legislation will save millions of dollars for our local governments over the next several years, ensuring that more money can be spent in our children’s classrooms.”

As chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Dean said he worked alongside Rep. Travis for the passage of the bill in the House. After holding hearings in the House Transportation Committee with school bus manufacturers, contract school bus drivers, local education agencies, and the Tennessee Department of Safety, Rep. Dean said there was "a glaring need for a compromise."

“Every party has their own priorities and their own needs, but the primary priority of the House from the beginning has been the safety of our children and the efficient use of our taxpayers’ money,” said Rep. Dean. “Rep. Travis and I have worked diligently to come up with a compromise that satisfies all involved parties but does not sacrifice what is truly important.”

The House approved the bill with a 92-0 vote. The bill cleared the Senate with a vote of 28-0 and is now on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. 

“I am truly thankful to both the Department of Safety and my colleagues in the House for their support of this bill,” said Rep. Travis. “I look forward to even more legislation in the future that not only saves money for our local communities, but also helps ensure our children are protected on a daily basis.”


PHOTOS: Armed Forces Day Parade In Chattanooga

Crowds watched the annual Armed Forces Day Parade along Market Street (click for more)

Spencer, Tn., Man Charged With Criminal Homicide In Stabbing Death

A joint investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and several other law enforcement agencies has resulted in the early morning arrest of a Spencer, Tn., man charged with criminal homicide.   At the request of 31 st District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis, TBI Special Agents joined investigators with the District Attorney’s office ... (click for more)

The History Of Avondale Recreation Center

I grew up in Avondale from third grade until I was married and two children. East Chattanooga had a center since before I was born. The only time I was gone was when I, along with six buddies, joined the USMC.   The families in Avondale, a working class neighborhood, wanted a community center closer to home so the Avondale Civic League took on the task. They raised the money ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Bad Ideas Never Work

When the Chattanooga City Council gave Kevin Muhammad, who is purportedly the “leader” of the Nation of Islam’s “Chattanooga chapter” or whatever it is, “the right” to speak for 20 anguished minutes on Monday night, everybody who heard about it could have told our city leaders it was “stinkin’ thinkin’.” My goodness, did you think he was going to read a sweet passage from the ... (click for more)

Mustangs Clip Raiders, 4-3, On Chambers' Clutch RBI Hit In 10th

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Winning two regular season games against Cleveland was no picnic for the Walker Valley Mustangs. Capturing a win-or-go-home District 5-3A tournament showdown with the Blue Raiders was even tougher to nail down for coach Joe Shamblin’s squad. Bunts by Jacob McCall and Hunter Shamblin set the stage for Jacob Chambers’ walk-off RBI single in the 10 th ... (click for more)

East Ridge And CFCA Reach New Contract

The city of East Ridge and the Chattanooga Futbol Club Academy (CFCA) have agreed to a new five-year soccer field-use agreement for five fields at Camp Jordan Park. The agreement allows CFCA to practice at Camp Jordan Park and play games there on fields 1-5. The East Ridge Futbol Club (ERFC) plays recreation soccer on fields 6-8 and often works with CFCA to use field 5 on Saturday ... (click for more)