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Sen. Menendez, Rep. Titus introduce legislation to expand accessible transportation options for individuals with disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-Nev.01) Tuesday reintroduced the bicameral Disability Access to Transportation Act (DATA), legislation that would address numerous persistent challenges faced by individuals with disabilities when they use transportation services.

It would establish a one-stop pilot program to help paratransit riders avoid excessive wait times between multiple trips, streamline the process for submitting accessibility complaints, and assist local communities with identifying gaps in transportation accessibility.

“Access to safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options is a critical tool for promoting economic opportunity for all communities and it is especially important for individuals with disabilities,” Menendez said. “I’m proud to be leading this bicameral legislation with Rep. Titus because it is critical we invest in creating transportation systems that are more accessible and reliable, and can provide all individuals with more flexibility and mobility when commuting to work, school, or any destination.”

“True community living is not possible without the ability to easily move from one location to another,” Titus said. “I’m proud to join Senator Menendez in this bicameral effort to build upon the Americans with Disabilities Act so we can eliminate all lingering barriers to adequate and accessible transportation.”

The Disability Access to Transportation Act includes:

  1. Findings that highlight the ongoing need to improve access to transportation systems for those with disabilities;
  2. The creation of a new one-stop paratransit pilot program authorized at $75 million annually through FY26, which will allow for a brief stop on a multi-legged paratransit trip to prevent long wait times between having to book individual trip segments. This will allow people with disabilities to perform activities like stopping at a bank or pharmacy or dropping children off at daycare without needing to book two separate trips that could each take up to 90 minutes;
  3. Requires the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board to finalize minimum standards for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, and requires the Secretary of Transportation to undertake a rulemaking to implement those standards;
  4. A provision to streamline the accessibility complaint reporting process at FTA; and
  5. The creation of an accessibility data pilot program to improve data collection and identify gaps in services to aid in transportation planning.

The bill has been endorsed by the United Spinal Association, American Council of the Blind, Family Voices, Amputee Coalition, The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, Autistic People of Color Fund, Access Ready, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Cure SMA, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and American Foundation for the Blind.

“Without wheelchair-accessible transportation, true community living is impossible for far too many of our members,” said Vincenzo Piscopo, President and CEO of United Spinal Association. “This bill could be the game changer we need. It has the potential to increase the availability of accessible transportation for millions of people with mobility disabilities.”

Sen. Menendez has long advocated to create a more accessible, affordable, and equitable transit system throughout New Jersey. Earlier this year, the Senator announced more than $25 million of federal transportation funding for eleven projects across the state. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All program that is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that passed Congress and was signed into law in 2021. Millions of dollars from the IIJA have already flowed to the state.

In January of this year, Sen. Menendez joined President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to announce the award of $292 million for the Gateway project. Around the same time, the Senator also announced more than $13 million for projects at the Atlantic City International Airport and for base improvements for the 177th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard. In April, Sen. Menendez announced $834 million to support New Jersey’s public transit agencies. Last year in January, he announced $229 million to repair bridges across the state, including the Route 3 bridge over the Hackensack River. In December of 2021, Sen. Menendez announced $54 million to support New Jersey’s airports. Ultimately, New Jersey stands to receive billions of dollars from the IIJA to help the state repair roads and highways, expand mass transit, and build the Gateway Project.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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