Despite concerns from school districts and lawmakers about the projected costs, a Senate committee Monday approved a bill that would lead to more students being able to take school buses.

The bill (SB 188), filed by Sen. Greg Steube would require that buses be available for students who live more than 1.5 miles from school — down from the current standard of two miles. It also would make other changes, such as ensuring that buses would be available to all students who encounter “hazardous walking conditions” going back and forth to school.

The Senate Education Committee voted 8-1 to approve the bill, which Steube said was aimed at helping keep children safe. But some lawmakers said they had heard from school districts worried about the potential costs of such an expansion of busing.

A staff analysis said the changes would lead to the transportation of an estimated 61,765 additional students, at a cost of nearly $58.5 million. Also, it said an estimated 908 additional buses would be needed, at a cost of more than $97.1 million.

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