WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published September 26, 2011, 09:37 PM

Ensuring Transportation Access for Disabled is Difficult in Budget Crunch

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - City officials are focusing on transportation issues this week, with a focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - City officials are focusing on transportation issues this week, with a focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But with a tight budget, new things are hard to come by.

State law does not require a city to have public transportation. But if a city does have a transportation system, there are some rules that need to be followed.

Rider-ship of city buses and transportation systems is increasing, and that's only one reason why more and more issues with the system are being addressed.

Officials with the Rocky Mountain ADA Center are in Grand Forks this week, encouraging integration in the use of fixed route transportation.

"As people age, unlike other minority groups, disability is

open enrollment and anybody can become a person with a disability," information specialist Geoff Ames said.

Ames says in recent years, improvements have been made by adding things like automatic doors and curb ramps.

But now cities are working to meet more requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It's not that people with disabilities get everything they've ever dreamed of and want. It's determining what is required, what is not required, how best to approach it," information specialist Sandy Lahmann said.

Companies are finding conflict in realities of running a transit agency vs. what people with disabilities and seniors are looking for in transportation.

And a tight city budget means not all changes can be made at once.

"That financial climate is gone, now its' a climate of limited resources and 'OK we need to make sure we're spending our resources in a

wise way,'" Lahmann said.

"The transit system cannot do it by itself, the city cannot do it by itself. People with disabilities can't do it on their own. Everybody needs to come together, all the stakeholders need to come together and get involved in the process," Ames said.

There is another public forum on Tuesday in the Grand Forks City Council chambers from noon to 2 p.m.

Tags: