State budget cuts have led Michigan to lay off all of its state school bus inspectors, which means that as soon as Nov. 2 schools that can’t pay for the inspections themselves may stop their bus services, reports Ron French of the Detroit News. The inspection program, which costs the state $1.4 million a year, is being eliminated in order to battle a $2.8 billion deficit. It is illegal to operate school buses without yearly inspections.
Nathan Rowen, director of transportation for the Lansing School District, expressed concern that his district would be unable to bus its roughly 4,500 students to and from school. “I could have the fleet out of business if they haven’t corrected [the law] yet,” he said, according to Scott Davis of the Lansing State Journal.
State Rep. Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland) suggested that the law be amended to make the safety inspections voluntary: “It’s not a good thing, but it’s a budget reality.” The inspector lay-offs, said LeBlanc, “really [do] point to the economic distress we’re in…[T]he money simply is not there.”