Healthy Success for Student Transit

School-age children around Oregon need better transportation options. Students in urban areas can’t always to take transit to school when they miss the school bus, and students in rural areas have difficulty participating in sports and other after-school activities without activity buses. Some students can’t meet with a tutor after school because they don’t have a way home. And due to limited transportation options, some students are chronically late or absent, fall behind, and simply drop out of school altogether.

During the 2018 legislative session, Oregon Environmental Council worked with OPAL Environmental Justice to successfully advocate for two bills to improve student transportation statewide.

  • HB 4059 dedicates at least 1% of new public transit funds raised by the 2017 transportation package to helping students get where they need to go, expanding student transportation options statewide.
  • HB 4130 is a technical fix to allow transit buses to move students without requiring a complicated waiver process. The bill also creates a grant fund with a 50% match that school districts with transit access can use for bus passes and rural districts can use for activity buses. This ensures that both urban and rural students will benefit. 

Today’s students need this flexibility–they attend college classes, they have after-school jobs, and a myriad of other activities that are important for their success. Transit passes have been linked to increased attendance; and students that currently enjoy transit passes rave about them and how having them has improved their quality of life.

Better transportation options also reduce idling and congestion around schools because fewer parents need to drive their children. This improves air quality and reduces pollution that contributes to climate change.

Oregon Environmental Council served on the work group that created this policy, and we are proud to see it pass. Thank you to Rep. Caddy McKeown, who spearheaded the effort and brought it across the finish line after two years of conversations. Special thanks also to Reps. Williamson, Lively and Keny-Guyer for starting the conversation with bills they introduced in 2015. Much of the credit belongs to our partners at OPAL Environmental Justice and their YEJA (Youth Environmental Justice Alliance) program, who have been campaigning on this issue for years and brought passionate students to the Capitol to testify on the bills.

One small change making a big difference in the lives of Oregon’s next generation!

Read more about our policy work on transportation options.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Policy Featured Living Green Toxics-Free Environments Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Climate Protection Transportation Solutions OEC News/Updates/Events Air Quality
Sort by

Congrats to Multnomah County! OEC Healthy Purchasing Champion 2016

We’re pleased to announce that Multnomah County is the recipient of OEC’s first annual “Healthy Purchasing Champion” award for 2016. The County has demonstrated excellence and leadership in the pursuit of safer products through public procurement. While a number of local governments completed an impressive scope of work in the arena of purchasing safer products over the last year, Multnomah County rose above in their level of implementation. Oregon Environmental Council works directly
July 15, 2016, 5:13 pm


The Healthy Climate Bill: Just the Facts

The Problem In 2007 the Oregon Legislature enacted ambitious climate pollution reduction goals to protect our clean air, safeguard our shellfish and tourism industries, and reduce Oregon’s contribution to climate change, drought, and severe weather. But Oregon is not on track to meet these goals. To reduce climate pollution to 75% below 1990 levels by 2050, Oregon needs an enforceable, economy-wide climate policy. Only a comprehensive policy that leads to a s
November 17, 2015, 8:04 pm


A bailout for transit? Here’s why it’s a good idea

Oregon Environmental Council recently joined more than 200 other organizations across the country in signing on to a letter originated by Transportation for America and Union of Concerned Scientists asking Congress for immediate financial assistance for American transit agencies. Thanks in part to this push, Congress has voted to include 25 billion dollars for transit agencies in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security A
April 2, 2020, 9:36 pm


Oregon Environmental Council: Andrea Durbin to transition to City of Portland leadership

After 12 years with OEC, Durbin will head the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
February 22, 2019, 5:32 pm


Better transit: Keeping Oregon Moving

Oregonians will soon have more bus service, thanks to a first-time stable, significant and statewide source of funding for public transit (part of the 2017 “Keep Oregon Moving” transportation package championed by Oregon Environmental Council and our allies). From Kayak Public Transit serving the Pendleton-Umatilla area
August 7, 2018, 11:31 pm


Oregon transit fleets speed up efforts to electrify

ODOT lays it out clearly:
November 13, 2017, 7:51 pm


When Public Transit Options Are Few: Quentin’s Story

It can be hard to be a college student. The many hours of study, plus juggling a regular job, student activities, work study — it’s a lot of pressure. Adding onto the regular stresses of college life, a lack of sufficient public transit service to get to class, appointments or work is not something students should have to deal with. But for students at Umpqua Community College, it is a reality. Quentin knows this struggle well. A student at Umpqua Community College, Quentin stu
April 3, 2017, 8:07 am


Public Transit Makes the Difference: Maggie & Mika’s Story

We all know that public transit connects communities and helps people get where they need to go. But for some, it’s more than a help – it’s a vital resource. Maggie Ota can attest to this. A Forest Grove resident for the past three years, a big reason her family relocated to the area was because of the school district’s integrated programs for disabled students. In the Forest Grove School District her son, Mika, is able to attend a regular classroom with other kids ̵
February 17, 2017, 12:07 am


4 Reasons to Pledge Your YES Vote for Rogue Valley Transit

On May 17, Rogue Valley residents will have the opportunity to support their community by voting for a local transit levy. Local funding rates for Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) haven’t increased in over 30 years, crippling the district’s ability to meet people’s needs. Buses are less frequent, and if you want to take the bus on the weekend or in the evening, tough luck! We can place part of the blame on the fact that Oregon lags far behind other states in suppo
April 25, 2016, 11:44 pm


3 Replies to "Healthy Success for Student Transit"

  • Oregon Environmental Council | 2018 Legislative Wrap: Healthy Strides
    March 8, 2018 (11:44 pm)

    […] Students around the state currently face an inflexible system when it comes to transportation.  Students in urban areas don’t always have funding for transit and students in rural areas have difficulty getting to school functions without after-school activity buses. More about HB 4130 and how it takes an important step toward solving this problem. […]

  • Oregon Environmental Council | Transportation Options
    March 24, 2018 (8:52 pm)

    […] ✓ A first-time, significant, dedicated source of funding for public transit all across the state (>$1 billion over 10 years), which was amended in 2018 to require that at least 1% be spent on youth-oriented transit […]

  • 22 milestones for Oregon in 2018 | Oregon Environmental Council
    December 20, 2018 (9:37 pm)

    […] Access to public transit for youth is improved. At least 1% of the new transit operations funding secured through the 2017 […]