Study says lawmakers must address elderly drivers in new funding bill

News AASHTO Journal August 20, 2003
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The Brookings Institution released a report that alerts federal legislators to the growing transportation needs of an aging pop

The Brookings Institution released a report that alerts federal legislators to the growing transportation needs of an aging population, as lawmakers look at future surface transportation funding for the next six years and beyond.


Sandra Rosenbloom, author of the Brookings report, wrote: "The reauthorization of the federal transportation law, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, presents an excellent opportunity for Congress to respond directly to the diverse mobility needs of the elderly." Rosenbloom, a professor at the University of Arizona-Tucson, authored the report for Brookings' Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy.


The report notes in 2000 35 million Americans, or 12.4% of the total U.S. population, were over age 65 and almost 4.5 million, or 1.6% of the total population, were over age 85. By 2030, the number of older Americans will more than double; 9 million alone will be over 85. Almost all of those seniors will have been licensed drivers for most of their lives, including many seniors too disabled to walk far or use conventional public transportation. Seniors in the future will be even more dependent on the car than today's elderly.


Speakers addressing the Senate panel last month agreed that Congress should take action by modifying and increasing the funding for existing programs like the Section 5310 Elderly Persons with Disabilities Program at the Federal Transit Administration, as well as FTA's Section 5311 rural transportation work. The panelists also stressed the need to adopt uniform cross-program reporting and accounting standards.



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