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Greenstein, Diegnan, Bill Expanding Permissible Size for Electric School Buses Advances

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Law and Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Linda Greenstein and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. that would increase the permissible width for electric school buses was passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee today.

“The current width for school buses was set before the advent of electric school buses,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Making this small change will allow districts to transform their school fleets over time to become more green friendly and because there will be no noxious fuel emissions, more student-health friendly, as well.”

“This is a common-sense bill,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “We want to encourage school districts to embrace new technologies, particularly when it can save them money and help the environment at the same time. Expanding the allowable width for electric buses does that.”

Under current law, school bus widths are restricted to 96 inches, excluding accessories. The widths of larger electric school buses generally vary between 101.5 inches and 102 inches. The bill provides that the maximum width for electric school buses operated in the State could not exceed 102 inches, excluding accessories.

Electric school buses can help school districts lower their operating costs and minimize their carbon footprint. Additionally, non-combustion engine buses eliminate the serious health impacts of diesel fuel on the children being served.

The bill would take effect immediately if passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

The bill, S-723, was passed by the Senate Transportation Committee by a vote of 5-0. It now advances to the full Senate for further consideration.