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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

An Update from the NCIL Transportation Subcommittee

By Fred Hess, Subcommittee Member

Hi fellow transportation fixer uppers. My name is Fred Hess. I am an Advocacy Coordinator in Western Pennsylvania (PA) and work for Disability Options Network (DON), the CIL located in New Castle, PA. I am on 3 different transportation committees: NCIL’s Transportation Subcommittee, the PA Transportation Alliance and a regional transportation committee called Alliance for Transportation Working in Communities (ATWIC) in SW PA. I was proud to be a member of ATWIC’s steering committee and we came up a large report on the problems with transportation for people with disabilities.

I recently attended a presentation at the Lawrence County Commissioner’s board from the Southwestern PA Transportation Commission (SPC) where they were using disability information that I shared from the various groups I participate in as a guideline. So that just shows you that the work we do really does count. I stressed the need for 1000 pound lifts on transportation vehicles. I also made this point at the National Council on Disabilities (NCD) Forum in Pittsburgh on May 4 that several of our colleagues attended. That was a very interesting meeting, as we had some important people from the disability community all in one spot. If you’re going to get your issues out into the public, there was no better place to do it. We discussed transportation systems throughout the state and nation and how they affect people with disabilities. The largest problem from what I gathered is the train access. This isn’t limited to Amtrak. It seems that a lot of other inner city trains are badly in need of accessible stations and passenger cars.

We work to achieve our goal of no longer needing community advocacy anymore because the whole world will be accessible. It’s good to keep in mind that to get there we need to take little steps and you and I are taking them every day. Keep up the good work and one day one day the world will be our oyster.

For more information, contact Fred Hess at 724-652-5144 or fhess@disabilityoptionsnetwork.org.

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