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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News

 12/19/2005

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 Mobility Voted a Top Priority at White House Conference on Aging

 

Mobility Resolution Ranks Third Among 73 Issues; Garners More Votes Than Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Resolutions

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2005 - The 2005 White House Conference on Aging has ranked transportation options for older Americans to be among the top three priorities facing seniors.

Of the 73 resolutions presented at the conference last week, the pledge to "Ensure that Older Americans Have Transportation Options to Retain Their Mobility and Independence" received the third most votes with 1,002 ballots (out of a maximum of 1,200). It will be part of the 50 resolutions that will go to President Bush and Congress to help guide national aging policies for the next 10 years.

"This vote should be a wake up call for all federal, state and local officials," said William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). "The people most knowledgeable about America's aging issues have spoken and they have declared that transportation options for seniors must be a top national priority."

The resolutions to "Reauthorize the Older Americans Act" (1,061 votes) and to "Develop a Coordinated, Comprehensive Long-Term Care Strategy" (1,015 votes) ranked first and second, respectively. "Strengthening Medicare" ranked fifth and "Strengthening Social Security" ranked eleventh.

The mobility resolution calls for expanding transportation options for seniors, increasing funding for public transportation targeted to seniors' needs, coordinating 62 federal programs that support transportation services at the local level, and developing communities that allow older citizens to "age in place" within their own neighborhoods with easy access to essential, everyday destinations.

"Public transportation is a lifeline for tens of thousands of seniors," said Millar. "It is imperative that older Americans have transportation options for when they decide to no longer drive or are no longer able to."

A national survey of individuals age 65 and older, conducted by Harris Interactive® in November 2005, reported that more than four in five seniors believe public transportation is a better alternative to driving alone, especially at night, and 83 percent agree that public transit provides easy access to the things that older adults need in everyday life. The survey also found that two-thirds of seniors believe their communities need more public transportation services targeted specifically for older adults. It also showed that when older Americans become more familiar with the benefits of public transportation, they say they want more of it.

"The good news is that public transportation solutions do exist that can preserve older Americans' independence, but there is much more that must be done," said Millar. "The White House Conference's vote for more transportation options is a huge step forward toward ensuring mobility for all seniors."

To view the complete text of the "Resolution on Expanding Mobility Options for Older Americans" go to the White House Conference on Aging web site at http://www.whcoa.gov/about/resolutions/Resolutions.pdf. (Click on page 31.) To see other information about older American mobility that was distributed to the delegates at the White House Conference on Aging, go to the APTA web site at www.apta.com and click on the 2005 White House Conference on Aging Mobility Matters.

Also, the complete results of the Harris Interactive® survey can be viewed at the web address below:

http://www.apta.com/mediacenter/pressreleases/2005/Pages/051206_seniors_worry.aspx.

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