Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Governor Rell Celebrates School Bus Seat Belt Bill

Governor M. Jodi Rell celebrated legislation Tuesday that establishes a state-run incentive a program to help school districts pay for equipping school buses with three-point, lap and shoulder seat belts.

"Sadly, in a very real sense we are brought together by tragedy," Governor Rell noted in a bill-signing ceremony at Rocky Hill High School. Vikas Parikh, a 16-year-old student at Rocky Hill High died in a school bus accident in January of this year.

"This practical, common-sense bill establishes a program to help school districts all over our state buy school buses equipped with three-point safety belts," the Governor said. "It is not a mandate -- it does not impose costly new requirements in the face of extraordinarily difficult budgets. It strikes a critical balance between incentive and choice. I believe this is a good law -- it is not only well-intentioned, it is also well-crafted."

Under the program, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles will begin offering a program in 2011 that offsets a portion of the sales tax bus companies pay for school buses equipped with three-point seat belts. The program will be funded through a $50 increase in the fees paid for restoring suspended or revoked driver's licenses, commercial driver's licenses and vehicle registrations.

The program will run through at least 2018, at which time a legislative session will be held to determine whether the program should continue.

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