“Thousands of our neighbors with disabilities depend on public transportation to get to jobs and everywhere else they need to be. We owe it to them and to our communities to make special-needs transportation as accessible and efficient as possible." Rep Cindy Ryu, D-32
Shoreline, home base for Rep Cindy Ryu has a high proportion of "special needs" residents, including school age children. Special-needs children and residents are disproportionately affected by budget cuts to public transit and school transportation.
Rep Ryu is concerned about these impacts and is sponsoring House Bill 2725 .
Contact Rep Ryu's office with questions or comments at:
324 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
OLYMPIA—The statewide council responsible for coordinating special-needs transportation may live beyond June, if the state Senate follows the lead of Rep. Cindy Ryu and the House of Representatives.
The House voted 56-41 on Friday for Ryu’s proposal to expand, reform and permanently reauthorize the Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation (ACCT), which would otherwise expire on June 30.
Opponents of the bill argued that the Legislature should allow agencies with sunset provisions to die. Ryu countered that the Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation is the only statewide organization that brings together all the major players who play a role in providing transportation to people with special needs.
“Thousands of our neighbors with disabilities depend on public transportation to get to jobs and everywhere else they need to be,” said Ryu (D-Shoreline). “We owe it to them and to our communities to make special-needs transportation as accessible and efficient as possible.”
In addition to permanently reauthorizing ACCT, Ryu’s House Bill 2725 directs the council to place a high priority on projects that deliver measurable performance benefits, promote cost- and ride-sharing, match transportation with human services, and address the needs of underserved populations.
Witnesses lined up in support of Ryu’s bill during a Feb. 1 public hearing.
“There is not one area in this state where transportation is not a problem and where people don’t have big issues about getting to health care clinics or mental health clinics or even a grocery store,” said Jim Morris, who spent 15 years on the Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment.
“This coordinated transportation approach is the best conceivable way of trying to match scarce resources with a variety of users,” Morris said.
A number of witnesses agreed that coordinating transportation is the best way to ensure continued service while saving public funds.
Ryu’s bill and coordinated transportation are about “sharing trips, sharing costs, avoiding duplication, and saving money,” said Marge Tully on behalf of the Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition. “We’ve come a long way in the effort of coordinating transportation. This is not the time to lose heart and to stop that effort.”
Ryu said she expects her bill to pass during the current legislative session, while there is still time to save the council.
“Transportation is a necessity for people with special needs, and finding ways to make public dollars go further is a necessity for our state and local governments, especially now,” said Ryu. “Passing this bill serves both of these important needs.”