The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), was passed by Congress in August, 2005, reauthorizing the Surface Transportation Act. Within this authority, language specifies that grantees applying for funds under the New Freedom Initiative (5317), Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC-5316) and Elderly and Disabled Transportation Program (5310) must meet certain planning requirements starting in FY2007 and continuing indefinitely.
SAFETEA-LU specifically requires projects for the three above programs to be part of a public transit plan that is both locally developed and coordinated. The development of this plan must include representatives from public, private, and non-profit transportation services, human service providers and the public. The public input process must also include representatives from each of the three targeted groups.
The process is designed to identify the needs of three targeted groups: Individuals with disabilities, older adults, and people with low incomes. The process also identifies strategies to meet local needs, and prioritizes the strategies for funding, time and feasibility constraints. Additionally, the plan should maximize the effectiveness of coverage by minimizing overlaps in services, while addressing gaps in current service.
For many members of our community public transit is not a choice but a necessity of life, be it a taxi, van, bus, or other form of transit services. Complications from age, disability, or low income often limit access to a personal vehicle. This creates a situation where many of the daily trips most of us take for granted, such as going to the grocery store, doctor, or work, would be impossible without some other means of transportation besides a personal vehicle.