Lawmakers decided not to approve a bill that would have required seat belts on every school bus by 2024 and instead voted to study the costs.

Rep. John Geragosian, D-New Britain, co-chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said a study needs to be completed first because there are too many discrepancies for what the requirement would cost.

“It’s clear we need some better information,” he said.

The legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates the requirement would cost local municipalities up to $106.6 million and the state up to $1.7 million.

Transportation Committee Co-chairman Rep. Antonio Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, said he has been told by numerous bus manufacturers that having seat belts on new buses costs an additional $8,000.

Rep. Kim Fawcett, D-Stratfield, said she doesn’t see the need for yet another study.

“There is already a wealth of information out there and I don’t think we need to commit the state to spending more money on a study when the studies are already there,” she said.

If passed, funding for a study would only be done if the funds were available, but no revenue is dedicated. Seat belts on school buses got a fresh impetus following the death of a student from Rocky Hill in bus crash earlier this year. The transportation committee heard testimony earlier this year that the student’s death could have been prevented had the student been wearing a seat belt.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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