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DENVER -- Squeezed by soaring energy prices, governments around the nation are reacting just like consumers -- changing basic routines, and scrimping and saving in order to get by.
School buses are major gas guzzlers, and several districts are cutting back routes. In suburban Seattle, the Northshore School District has cut eight bus routes, requiring some students to walk farther to get to their stops. Children will no longer be able to use school buses to travel to gifted programs at far-off schools.
The burden of fuel costs has fallen disproportionately on law enforcement agencies. "If fuel prices keep going up, it's going to have a devastating impact on our ability to function," said Hubert Williams, president of the Police Foundation in Washington.
Governments are in a bind: "You can't increase taxes and you can't raise revenues, but you can't cut back on policing," he said.