That’s not how I usually introduce myself, but it’s something that everyone will notice when they meet me, so let’s talk.
I was born with cerebral palsy. It’s not something I talk about very often in my writing, but it’s a part of my life.Me on a spring hike with my hiking sticks. (These are not crutches).
I have a great partner. I have the best job in the world. I am very happy. I am not the cultural stereotype of a person with a disability, but transportation is a constant source of trouble and anxiety in my life.
Since only 17.9% of people with a disability are gainfully employed, compared to 19.3% of the population. BC (pre-Covid), there is an assumption in American society that there is nowhere for people with a disability to go, but accessible transportation is one of the keys to independent living for people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, even three decades after the ADA was passed, much of the country’s public transportation system remains inaccessible to millions of disabled Americans.
I do not drive. I used to do this, but when my reflexes changed and the State of Pennsylvania said we didn’t think this was such a great idea, I haven’t driven for most of my life.
In daily life I have to get from place to place. Since I don’t live in a big city, I have to rely on the bus or train. Journalism isn’t a great way to get rich, and carpooling like Uber and Lyft can get expensive quickly.
Constantly asking friends and my partner for ridesharing doesn’t feel good. It’s daunting to have some of the same travel barriers as the Amazon parcel sitting on your porch right now.
If a disabled person can find public transport, accessibility is not guaranteed. There’s nothing like arriving at a bus or train station with luggage in hand to meet at an inaccessible access point.
From stairways to platform access challenges to doors that are not suitable for people with disabilities, public transport stations can be full of challenges, big and small.
I’m not too proud to admit I fell a time or two trying to use our country’s public transport.
The US public transportation system is old and in many ways not yet fully accessible. Millions of disabled travelers either risk their physical well-being to get where they need to go or, unfortunately, they do not travel at all.
Biden bipartisan infrastructure law to modernize 1,000 transit stations
President Biden sees the problem. According to a White House bulletin made available to PoliticusUSA: “More than 30 years after the Americans passed with Disabilities Act, nearly 1,000 transit stations are still not fully accessible, something millions of elderly Americans and individuals are having Disabilities enjoy public transport to the full. The bipartisan infrastructure contract covers a total of $ 2 billion for transit ADA, including $ 1.75 billion for accessibility to all train stations and $ 250 million for enhanced mobility for seniors and individuals with Disabilities. These programs will remove barriers to transportation service and expand mobility options for Americans across the country. “
A great deal for people with disabilities
Accessible transportation is a turning point for people with disabilities. Trump rolled back disability rules, making it difficult for people with disabilities to get to doctor’s appointments and get adequate medical care.
When people have had difficulty getting to the doctor, it also means they have had difficulty going to work, school, getting groceries, or traveling anywhere.
The modernization of local public transport to make train stations accessible will give people with disabilities more freedom, independence and self-esteem.
$ 2 billion may not seem like much when the government spends trillions, but for people with disabilities like me that is the message that we are seen and serves as a down payment for traffic equity.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also the White House press pool and congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in political science. His thesis focused on public policy with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and professional memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association