First some good news:
U.S. Eliminates Student Loan Debt For Some Borrowers With Disabilities
NPR, August 19, 2021
"The U.S. Education Department announced Thursday that it is discharging the outstanding student loans of more than 323,000 borrowers who have significant, permanent disabilities, and will remove barriers for borrowers who qualify for this relief in the future. The announcement will erase some $5.8 billion in debt and marks a significant step toward fixing a troubled debt relief program meant to help borrowers with disabilities."
We join our colleagues at the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities in applauding this effort to simplify the program, reduce bureaucratic barriers, and alleviate the immense burden of federal student loans on thousands of people with permanent disabilities who were pursuing their educational and career goals.
Vox provides an interesting analysis of how "for decades, private transit has been prioritized over public transit. And that is the case with the new infrastructure bill, as well: There’s $110 billion for highways, bridges, and roads — and state transportation departments do not have to use that money to address existing highway repair backlogs, but they can use it to widen existing ones and build new roadways."
"Public transit experts worry that major investments in private transit infrastructure will create more congestion in cities and make bus routes slower, incentivizing both greater suburban sprawl and dispersed job concentration. Fried called those latter two issues a “heavy blow” to transit, given that they solidify driving as the easiest way to get to work, exacerbating existing ridership issues."
AFB continues to advocate for significant investments in reliable, high-quality, accessible transportation options for people who are blind or have low vision, and were delighted to see one of the innovative pilot programs we had lobbied for included in the Disability Access to Transportation Act. Learn more about how you can take action to support the Disability Access to Transportation Act (DATA)!
Anastasia Pagonis is battling for her first gold at the Paralympics. On TikTok, she fights to normalize blindness.
Washington Post, August 23, 2021
"Now, years after becoming blind, Pagonis is a world record holder and preparing to compete in the Paralympics this week in Tokyo — where more than 4,000 disabled athletes will represent their nations just weeks after the Summer Olympics concluded.
The 17-year-old Long Island native has brought nearly 2 million TikTok followers with her, sharing short videos she hopes will normalize blindness and correct misconceptions about living with a disability."
We look forward to following the Tokyo Paralympic Games, which NPR reports "are going to be more visible and have more participants than ever before, even in the face of the pandemic." NBC is set to air more than 1,200 hours of programming across its TV and digital channels in the days ahead, and for the first time Paralympians are getting paid the same amount for medals as Olympians.
"The move gave Paralympic athletes a 400% increase for each medal win, finally putting them at parity with U.S. Olympians."
NBC Olympics will provide live audio description for all broadcast programming of the Paralympic Games, including those aired outside primetime hours.