National Issues in Senior Mobility-Meeting with Sara Woodward (Field Rep for Congressman Sam Graves)
Posted by Transit Action Network on June 4, 2010
May 12, 2010. I met with Sarah Woodward, local field representative for Representative Sam Graves, for 1 1/2 hours to discuss national transit issues. Representative Graves is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This committee has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation, including public transit and railroads. Sarah has worked for the Congressman for many years including three years in Washington, D.C. before returning home to the Liberty area.
We spent most of the meeting discussing funding for Senior Mobility. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the number of Americans over age 65 will grow by 79% in the next 20 years and the number of Americans between ages 65 and 74 will nearly double in this period, from just over 20 million in 2010 to nearly 40 million in 2030. Congress needs to address the transit demands resulting from this demographic change.
Good public transportation is critical for older Americans to maintain independence. To serve the rapidly growing number of Americans over 65, public transportation may incur increased operating and capital costs on the order of another $3.9 billion annually by 2030.
According to the APTA report Funding the Public Transportation Needs of an Aging Population “Public transportation systems will need to expand flexible route and community transportation services, Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit, demand-response service, taxi subsidy programs, and volunteer driver programs.”
We discussed the special transit needs of seniors in rural communities, and I also asked that Congressman Graves consider the following:
- Fully funding the security needs for transit. Only $1.25 billion of the $3.4 billion authorized in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 have been appropriated since it was enacted and even less has been directed in grants to transit agencies.
- Increasing the percentage transit receives in the next Surface Transportation Authorization from an 82/18 highway/transit split to a 75/25 highway/transit split, as currently proposed.
- Funding the Highway Trust Fund in a new manner, such as Vehicle Miles Traveled. (Sarah said Rep. Graves had privacy concerns about this method of funding)
- Assuring that Congressional earmarks do not compromise the FTA evaluation process for major transit projects.
- Supporting the Livable Communities Bill, S1619, that is currently in committee in the Senate.
Sarah said she would convey these concerns to Congressman Graves. Sarah works specifically with senior issues so having more information about their transit needs is very helpful.
Sarah and I will keep in touch about these issues.
Janet Rogers, June 4, 2010