Bill to expand transit services for people with disabilities faces uncertainty from state legislature | Latest titles

“We remain committed to bringing this to the Senate because we strongly believe in improving accessibility to transportation services and opportunities within the disability community,” he said.

Democrat Phil Steck of Albany County, who is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, says its need stems from national transportation policy that undermines the original intent of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

“As political leaders, we must take into consideration the needs of people with disabilities,” reads his bill. “Because many people with disabilities lack the ability to drive cars, lack of access to other modes of transportation disproportionately harms them.”

Steck said Tuesday his original bill proposed service five miles from the nearest bus route, while Kennedy’s Senate version suggested 1.5 miles. They compromised on three miles. But he says that even though Kennedy’s bill allocates $20 million for the extended service, his version notes the need to set a cost.

“The difficulty is that no one knows how much it will cost statewide,” Steck said. “We may have to do a pilot program to determine that, and I would be willing to have it done in Buffalo.

The bill won’t budge until we have a realistic ability to measure the cost, and we could do that if we launch a pilot program,” he added, while noting the possibility of a separate bill after the budget is passed.

Melvin Z. Madore