WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 5, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. House adopted by voice vote today an amendment to the FY16 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that was introduced by Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Mike Quigley (D-IL). The amendment will increase funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s Technical Assistance and Training program by $2 million, restoring it back to its 2014 level.
Technical Assistance and Training funds are used to improve transit accessibility for individuals with disabilities and older users. The $2 million increase included in this amendment will be offset with an equal reduction in funding for FTA administrative expenses.
“Older adults and individuals with disabilities disproportionately rely on public transit to live, learn, get to work and access everything from recreation to health care,” said Langevin, a co-founder of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus. “These FTA funds are essential to making our communities accessible and empowering those who rely on public transit to live fulfilling, independent lives. An investment in the Technical Assistance and Training program is an investment in our communities that ensures equal opportunities for all Americans.”
Butterfield said, “Increasing investment in FTA’s Technical Assistance and Training program is especially important to communities like Durham, North Carolina, which has applied to develop a 17-mile light rail public transit line that would connect Chapel Hill to East Durham through FTA’s New Starts program. Expansion of transit options in and around the Triangle will improve commerce, create jobs, and enable freedom and mobility to disabled, low-income and older Americans. Technical Assistance and Training programs are critical to communities searching for new transit opportunities. For that reason, I support this amendment.”
“The Chicago Transit Authority operates the nation’s second largest public transportation system, with 1.7 million rides taken on an average weekday. It connects Chicagoans to their workplace, home, friends and surrounding communities. However, the benefits of public transit cannot be fully realized until everyone, including individuals with disabilities and seniors, have equal access,” said Quigley. “Investing in Technical Assistance and Training program is an investment in equal access. I’m glad my colleagues recognized the impact these FTA funds will have on the lives of so many members in our communities.”
Strong advocates for accessibility issues, Langevin and Quigley also introduced legislation in March that would further improve public transportation for people with disabilities. The Transit Accessibility Innovation Act would create a competitive grant program under the FTA to encourage transit systems to make public transportation more accessible and user-friendly for individuals with disabilities.