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Senate Bill 1319 — School bus, contracts, fed funding

Senate Bill 1319 — School bus, contracts, fed funding

Anna Miller
February 17, 2022

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1319 creates a contract exception for the purchase of low or zero emission school buses by transportation service companies with funds from the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 to exceed five years. 

Rating: -1

Does the bill finance education based on the student rather than the institution? (+) Conversely, does the bill finance education based on an institution or system? (-)

The Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 spends tens of billions on various green energy transportation initiatives. It subsidizes electric vehicles and vehicle charging stations, electric buses and even spends half a billion dollars to try to cool down pavement in cities. It appropriates $5 billion between fiscal years 2022 and 2026 for schools and transportation companies to buy low or zero- emission buses and the associated charging and fueling infrastructure. The act requires that school buses purchased with this funding be part of the school fleet for at least five years. 

Under current Idaho code, local school boards cannot enter into contracts for bus service that last longer than five years. This law prevents transportation service companies from using federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 to purchase these low or zero emission school buses. Senate Bill 1319 amends the state  requirement by allowing contracts to last up to 10 years. This will make transportation service companies eligible for federal subsidies for electric buses. 

Making it possible for the federal government to subsidize the purchase of school buses in Idaho —  based on wasteful climate change initiatives  — would extend the government’s federal power in public education. It will lead to directly increasing funding based on an institution, rather than the needs of students. Idaho students would benefit from a practical approach to infrastructure rather than one based on progressive climate-related fads and dramatic spending increases. 


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