Trenton – The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Patrick Diegnan, Jr. and Fred Madden that would require the Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide individuals with developmental disabilities (IDD) individual travel budgets.
The bill, S-3441, would require the DHS to develop a program to permit individuals to use the travel budget to pay for travel on the New Jersey Transit Corporation regular route bus, rail, light rail network, pay-per-ride trips provided through county transportation agencies. They would also be permitted to use transportation network companies and taxi services that have received Passenger Assistance, Safety, and Sensitivity (PASS) training.
“The goal of this bill is to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities are able to independently utilize public transportation services day-to-day without financial anxiety,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Public transportation can be overwhelming, especially for those within the IDD community. All New Jerseyans need to have worry-free access to our transportation services.”
“Public transit services can pose many accessibility problems and in New Jersey, and we are actively working to eliminate those issues,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “With a set budget outlined and a program that assists some of our most vulnerable residents, we can expand accessibility for New Jersey public transportation.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Development Disabilities estimates that 4.5 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a developmental disability. Public transit poses difficulties for this population both physically and intellectually.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.