National School Transportation Association Members Return To Capitol Hill For Bus-In

NSTA members returned to Washington, D.C. in April for the 2023 Capitol Hill Bus-In. This group photograph on the Capitol Hill steps was taken just prior to commencement of Hill visits by the group.

Representatives of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) returned to Washington, D.C. for the 2023 NSTA Capitol Hill Bus-In. The program was held in the nation’s capital from April 26-27, and marked the first time since 2019 that NSTA members could go to Capitol Hill and engage with their elected representatives and staff members in-person.

The centerpiece of the Bus-In advocacy effort was an initiative to aggressively curb the epidemic of illegal school bus passings that have continued to plague the student transportation system. Data indicates that this vexing problem has exploded in the post-pandemic environment, and Congressman Rudy Yakym (IN-2) has pledged to carry on the legacy of the late Congresswoman Jackie Walorski in addressing this critical issue directly with a legislative proposal to be introduced within the next few weeks.

This year’s Capitol Hill Bus-In program began on April 26 with a Welcome Reception Luncheon at the Embassy Suites – Washington, D.C. Convention Center. Following the luncheon, NSTA members were bused to Capitol Hill for a group photograph and then held their first day of meetings with U.S. Senate officials in the Hart and Dirksen Buildings.

The day’s events were capped by an evening reception with Congressman Yakym. He spoke with NSTA members about his experiences as a freshman House member, as well as his view of the importance of school bus safety.

On April 27, NSTA members again traversed Capitol Hill for a second day of advocacy efforts, mainly engaging with offices of House officials. These meetings focused on the Illegal School Bus Passing initiative, as well as discussion about potential solutions to the school bus driver shortage, and the launch of the Clean School Bus Program — a federal initiative that provides grant funding to school bus operators for the future electrification of fleets.

In total, NSTA members participated in nearly 85 meetings with congressional offices over the course of the two-day program.

“By any measure, the 2023 NSTA Capitol Hill Bus-In was a tremendous success. After a few years of being unable to meet directly with our elected officials, the organization picked up right where we left off in 2019. Building and maintaining relationships with our elected officials is vital to our work and our mission. By the numbers, we were able to meet with almost 20 percent of congressional offices over two days, and provide them with our perspective on several important issues that the NSTA Advocacy Team is pursuing,” NSTA President Carina Noble said.

“I am pleased to see the traditional NSTA Capitol Hill Bus-In program return to its original format. The organization was able to meet with many congressional offices over the course of the two-day event, as well as with several of our elected representatives directly. While our Advocacy Team efforts over the past several years have been very successful, the organization still has work to do in supporting private school bus contractors in addressing the epidemic of illegal school bus passings, the transition to an electric school bus fleet, and solving the bus driver shortage,” NSTA Executive Director Curt Macysyn added.

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