Off The Beat: School Bus Operators Get A Free Pass

Nathan Eagle/Honolulu Civil Beat

The ax has fallen on school bus routes. The Hawaii Department of Education had to find some way to plug a transportation budget shortfall. And now lawmakers are squawking.

First out of the gate was Rep. Mark Takai, who had an intriguing idea for how to make up the shortfall: Get the governor to pay for it using his emergency powers.

Takai sent a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie Sunday asking him to invoke emergency powers to make sure 2,380 students aren't left scrambling to find another ride to school.

Rep. Marilyn Lee lashed out as well, attacking the plan from a safety angle.

But are they missing the point? The real questions are why have school bus costs risen so sharply in recent years? And what is the department doing about it?

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