This Spring, State Senator Paul Sarlo and Assembly members Lou Greenwald and Pamela Lampitt have introduced legislation designed to support Transportation Accessibility via enhanced Mobility and Support Services in New Jersey. The Senate Bill, S1825, and the comparable Assembly bill, A-3432, have been created to establish “an 11-member task force to study and make recommendations concerning mobility and support services needs of New Jersey adults with autism spectrum disorder”
Sarlo (D., Bergen/Passaic), along with Greenwald (D., Burlington/Camden) and Lampitt (D., Burlington/Camden) have addressed a long-discussed issue regarding the empowerment of transportation and Mobility accessibility on the lives of people with Autism related developmental disabilities.
According to a statement accompanying the bill:
“The task force will be comprised of: the Commissioner of Education or a designee; the Commissioner of Children and Families or a designee; the Commissioner of Health or a designee; the Commissioner of Human Services or a designee; the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development or a designee; the Commissioner of Transportation or a designee; the Secretary of Higher Education or a designee; four members of the public, including a researcher affiliated with the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey appointed by the Senate President, a representative of an organization dedicated to the advancement of autism spectrum disorder research, understanding, and treatment appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, a representative of an organization that advocates on behalf of families affected by autism spectrum disorder appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, and a New Jersey adult resident with autism spectrum disorder appointed by the Senate President”.
S1825, the Senate version of the bill, will be referred to the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, chaired by Joe Vitale (D., Middlesex). The Assembly version, A-3432, will be referred to the Committee on Transportation, and Independent Authorities, chaired by John Wisneiwski (D., Middlesex).
Dr. Cecilia Feeley, a researcher with the Rutgers University project on access and mobility for individuals with Autism, has examined the lack of transportation possibilities for the vulnerable population. In so doing, she has lobbied the State Legislature for assistance in developed a pilot program that may enable such people to be more independent. Ongoing studies have indicated that people with disabilities have great difficulty traveling to a doctor’s office, a supermarket, a place of employment and general community activities. The goal of this legislation to help individuals with special needs to be integral, productive members of society.