Member companies of the National School Transportation Association along with representatives from throughout the student transportation industry began meetings on Capitol Hill to further efforts to secure federal funding as well as a continued seat at the table for discussions on transportation issues.
NSTA normall holds its annual spring meetings in April, but the events were moved this year to May 3 through 5. The NSTA Safety Committee was scheduled top open the meetings in Alexandria, Va., followed by the NSTA Governmental Relations and NSTA Board meetings.
Capitol Hill visits were schedule to begin on Wednesday, led by NSTA's lobbying firm Prime Policy Group. NSTA members were to meet with individual congressional members. On Thursday, the "Fly In" was expected to conclude with group congressional and agency presentations. Several of the topics to be discussed included NHTSA and FMCSA regulatory matters, illegal competion by mass transit agencies with FTA and environmental matters with EPA. Other federal agencies were also scheduled to speak to the group and/or to representatives from the American School Bus Council.
Look for a recap in our June magazine edition.
The ASBC is expected to announce a new marketing specialist to assist the industry in promoting the benefits of the yellow school bus on both the federal and local levels. An industry insider told STN last week that the individual is located in Washington, D.C., and has previous lobbying experience.
Speaking of FMCSA, Administrator Anne Ferro this week was back in D.C., taking a break from her ongoing trips across the nation speaking to transportation groups on pending regulatory oversight. A big push has been driver fitness, driver distraction and electronic on-board recorders. But she took time out from these keynotes and frequent testimony before Congress to address another concern for commercial drivers: seat belt usage.
Earlier in the week, FMCSA announced that the number of commercial drivers wearing seat belts increased by 14 percent since 2007.