On January 25, by a unanimous vote of 8-0, the House Education Committee’s K-12 Subcommittee voted to table HB 313 (Krizek). This seemingly perennial bill would have mandated that new school buses purchased by school divisions be equipped with lap and shoulder strap seatbelts and that all school buses be equipped with such devices by July 1, 2040. VACo voiced concerns over the potential fiscal impact of the legislation to local governments. According to the fiscal impact statement, the cost to retrofit an existing bus with seat belts can be $20,000- $30,000 for each bus. New school buses with seatbelts typically cost an estimated $10,000 more than a bus without seat belts. Local school divisions would be required to cover any increased costs for retrofitting or new busses. Unlike in previous years, the subcommittee agreed to send a letter to the Chair of House Transportation asking for a study of the issue.
VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett