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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ZIA CHAPTER
PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION
"AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1989"
SEPTEMBER 26, 1989
Mr. Ralph Markward
801 Eighteenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) USA-1300 Fax: (202) 785-4452
Chairman Mineta and Members of the Subcommittee, my name is Ralph Markward. I am the Executive Director of the Zia Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I speak in favor of the private transportation requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act from personal experience.
I am a veteran of World War II. I was a tailgunner and flow 30 missions
over Germany. I am proud of my service to my country, but my country doesn't seem very proud of me. Because I and my fellow disabled veterans experience discrimination every day.
When I was in the US Army Air Corps, I was stationed in places like Pyote, Texas, St. Louis, Missouri, and Las Vegas, Nevada. In every station I took intercity Greyhound and Trailways buses from the base, to town, and sometimes, home to visit my family. With my dutfel bag over my back, I and soldierz like me were a familiar sight.
Now the same ex-soldiers, like me, who are disabled, cannot take these buses. My wife and I would lik > to travel aboard Greyhound with senior citizen groups, because my wife is unable to drive a vehicle on highways. But we can't. When we reach a new city, we would like to take tour buses like thousands of other tourists. Our money, as the saying goes, is as green as theirs. But my business is not welcome. The buses cannot accommodate me. And sometimes, they retuse to accommodate me, even if, with help, I could get myself on the bus.
My fellow disabled Americans who, like me, need access to private transportation, are likely to be poor, because disabled Americans are much poorer, as a group, than non-disabled Americans. In 1984, according to a Lou Harris poll, half of us had household incomes under $15,000, while only 25% of all Americans were that poor For the older disabled, the poverty rato is greater...fully one in three older disabled Americans has an income below $7500; twice as high as for the non-disabled. The more severe the disability, the statistically lower the income.
I don't have to tell you that private transit is the only choice available to poor Americans. What this means is that access to private transit is even more crucial for disabled persons than for the rest of the population. Yet we
Let's look at my state, New Mexico. It's 46th or 47th in per capita income of all the states. Tourism is a big business in my state. Albuquerque is the only city in New Mexico served by major airlines, therefore Greyhound bus travel is absolutely essential. But it is not available to us.
Accessible airport transportation, also essential, is absolutely unavailable. All paratransit is available ONLY to certified handicapped
persons, not tourists or business travelers, since
certification requires a month. The "Shuttle Jack" bus service between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is also not lift equipped.
The enforced isolation of older disabled Americans is truly un-American. You may think that my age peers and I -- and I am 64 years young -- are taken care of by paratransit. But we are not. Paratransit is unsatisfactory as it is, around town. It would never work over long distances. Older disabled Americans nood access to mainline transit as well as private transit. We may be older, but don't let us be forgotten. Please help restore our pride and our ability to be a part of our society, with your support of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mr. MINETA. I would like to ask the following members of the next panel to come before us: Ms. Wilson, Immediate Past President, Community Transportation Association of America here in Washington, D.C., as well as Executive Director of JAUNT, Charlottesville. We will have Mr. Payne doing the honors here.
I would like to have, also, Mr. Ray Mundy, Executive Director of the Airport Ground Transportation Association, Knoxville, come before us; Mr. Alfred B. LaGasse, III, Executive Vice President, International Taxicab Association, Kensington, Maryland; Mr. Rudolph H. Bruhns, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Greater Houston Transportation Company, and Mr. Robert M. Werth; President, Diamond Transportation Incorporated; Alexandria.
I would like to yield time to our very fine colleague, Mr. Payne. Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. It is my honor and privilege to introduce our next witness, Linda Wilson, who is representing the Community Transportation Association of America. Linda is the Executive Director of the Jefferson Area United Transportation Corporation, which is known as JAUNT, which serves the rural counties outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Prior to being elected to Congress, I was involved in running a business and owning a business near Charlottesville, Virginia, and in that capacity had direct dealings with Linda and with JAUNT in arranging transportation for workers who, without JAUNT, would have been unable to have a job there or anywhere else in a rural setting.
In addition to working for JAUNT, Linda is the immediate Past President of the Community Transportation of America. She is extremely knowledgeable about transportation issues, and I found her advice regarding even this bill before the committee to be very useful. Linda, thank you very much for joining us here today.
I look forward to hearing your remarks regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thanks.
Mr. MINETA. Ms. Wilson, you may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF LINDA WILSON, IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT,
COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JAUNT, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA; RAY MUNDY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AIRPORT GROUND TRANSPOR. TATION ASSOCIATION, KNOXVILLE, TN; ALFRED B. LaGASSE, II, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL TAXICAB ASSO. CIATION, KENSINGTON, MD; RUDOLPH H. BRUHNS, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER. GREATER HOUSTON TRANSPORTATION CO., HOUSTON, TX; AND ROBERT M. WERTH, PRESIDENT, DIAMOND TRANSPORTATION, INC., ALEX. ANDRIA, VA Ms. WILSON. Thank you so much. You gentlemen are patient. You have waited a long time for this panel. I hope we can say you have left the best for last.
As Mr. Payne has introduced me, I am the Executive Director of JAUNT, Incorporated in Charlottesville and have been in that capacity since 1980. We are an agency providing primarily public transportation.