Committees OK bill that would fund SFC bus service

Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 6:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 6:27 p.m.

Santa Fe College President Jackson Sasser was in Tallahassee on Wednesday, urging lawmakers to support a transportation bill that would allow state colleges to impose a student fee to fund increased bus service to campuses.

Steve Oelrich, R-Cross Creek, filed the transportation fee bill (SB 208) in the Senate. Rep. Charles "Chuck" Chestnut IV, D-Gainesville, filed a companion bill (HB 255) in the House.

The bill was presented on Wednesday to the State Universities & Private Colleges Policy Committee by Rep. Chestnut and the Senate Higher Education committee by Sen. Oelrich.

The bill has failed on prior attempts or was vetoed by the governor, but both committees approved the bills on Wednesday.

Sasser said Wednesday's endorsement by both committees is an "encouraging sign that our legislators recognize the need for more educational opportunities for our citizens and the ultimate value of the prosperity of the state," Sasser said in a press release."

Sasser added that a follow-up meeting with a member of Gov. Charlie Crist's staff was also favorable.

"We will work to bring this service to our students and hope we can have it done by the end of this (legislative) session," Sasser said.

The SFC student government unanimously voted to support the bill.

If the bill passes the Legislature, the SFC board of trustees could put a transportation fee in place, up to $6 per credit hour, to fund increased bus service for students. SFC hopes to create a similar bus service agreement with the Gainesville Regional Transit System as currently in place with the University of Florida.

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