While combining U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) programs that aid seniors and people with disabilities, the Senate's vote to approve the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" (S. 1813) last week authorizes $248.6 million for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 for the combined Section 5310 services. This represents a $23 million increase overall, with potentially more benefits for programs supporting seniors and persons with disabilities, according to the Jewish Federations of North America, who together with partners in aging and transportation services, worked with Congress and the Administration to advocate for this reauthorization.
The bill also reauthorizes the National Center on Senior Transportation, which The Jewish Federations of North America helped establish in 2006.
In addition, the Senate bill allows for grants to be used for operating assistance, improves coordination of programs between the U.S. DOT and the Department of Health and Human Services, and improves data reporting on programs that serve the elderly and people with disabilities. The bill maintains that seniors and individuals with disabilities must be part of the transportation planning process.
"When working with America's seniors, we often find that older adults are unable to rely on friends and family even for their most essential transportation needs like going to the doctor," said Kathy Manning, chair of the board of directors of the Jewish Federations of North America. "As a result, seniors suffer from increasing isolation and deterioration in health and quality of life. The provisions in the transit bill that aid transportation programs for seniors and individuals with disabilities are important for the people that Jewish Federations support across the country."