The New Jersey Senate advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Kristin Corrado that would extend the service life of school buses to address the shortage of school transportation vehicles.
"Ongoing supply chains issues have made manufacturing and obtaining new school busses a challenge here in New Jersey. Today, the Senate took pragmatic action and passed my bi-partisan legislation that would help alleviate our state's school bus shortage," said Corrado (R-40). "Extending the service life of certain school buses that meet established safety standards ensures that our students will continue to receive efficient transportation to and from school. This bill would amend existing regulations for certain school buses to increase their service life from fifteen to twenty years."
Currently, school buses with a maximum weight of 25,000 pounds that were manufactured on or after January 1, 2007, or before 2007 that have crankcase technology installed have a service life of fifteen years. Under New Jersey law, these vehicles are required to be retired after exhausting their service life regardless of their condition or mileage.
Type S buses, which are designed to carry fewer passengers have a service life of twelve years and must also be retired regardless of their condition or mileage.
Due to the lasting impacts of supply chain shortages and inflation, automobile production has been adversely affected by increased prices and limited supplies.
Senator Corrado's bill, S-3734 / A-5329, extends the useful service life of certain school buses from fifteen years to twenty years. This bill would apply to school buses manufactured on or before January 1, 2007, or buses manufactured before 2007 that have crankcase technology installed to reduce emissions.
The amended bill would also permit Type S school buses to receive a one-time extension from the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for up to one year upon request of the owner. The bill stipulates that the bus must be deemed safe to transport pupils and pass an inspection in accordance with the School Bus Enhanced Safety Inspection Act.
"Optimizing our utilization of school buses ensures that we continue to meet the needs of New Jersey families while adhering to strict public safety standards," Corrado added. "This bill allows us to strike a balance between safety and practicality so we can work more efficiently with limited resources during this unprecedented time."