About every five years, the US Congress takes action to reauthorize and redefine funding for our surface transportation systems. This funding provides critical support to public transportation, including buses, subways, and paratransit, as well as roads, trains, and services that provide transportation to older adults and people with disabilities. In addition, Congress is pursuing an expansive infrastructure legislation that creates more opportunities to improve our transportation options.
Over the last two years, AFB has been working hard to ensure that the next surface transportation reauthorization acknowledges and addresses some of the transportation needs facing people who are blind or have low vision. We started by bringing attention to some of the challenges of using paratransit services and were pleased that one of the reforms that we asked for was included in the Disability Access to Transportation Act as a pilot program.
The Disability Access to Transportation Act would create a one-stop paratransit pilot, enforceable standards for public right of way accessibility, improvements to the federal transit administration's complaint reporting process, a program to incorporate disability accessibility data in transportation planning, and increased funding for Section 5310 programs.
Even better, this bill has been introduced in both the House of Representatives as H.R. 1697 and the Senate as S. 2038, and most provisions were included in the House surface transportation legislation, the INVEST in America Act.
We’d like to see this bill be included in the Senate surface transportation bill and passed into law this year. You can help make it happen!
Join AFB’s Petition
AFB has created a petition calling on Congress to pass the Disability Access to Transportation Act. Add your name here to be added to the petition and future outreach to support AFB: www.afb.org/support-disability-access-transportation-act
Take direct action by calling your member of Congress
You can help us in our efforts to ensure that this language is included in the transportation bill by calling your two Senators and asking them to ensure that Disability Access to Transportation Act be included in the transportation bill. Every call and every voice makes a difference!
Here is a sample script you can use during your calls:
“Hi, my name is____. I’m calling from____. I’m calling to urge Senator____ to ensure that the upcoming surface transportation bill addresses the needs of Americans who are blind and have low vision. Lack of transportation can be a huge barrier to employment for people with vision loss. It can also be a barrier to older adults with vision loss, as they seek to remain active and independent in their own homes and communities. I hope that the Senator will cosponsor the Disability Access to Transportation Act and have it included in the surface transportation reauthorization.”
You can find the name and contact information for your Senator here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm
Alternatively, you can call the US Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Don’t forget that you’ll need to call twice to reach both Senators.