Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The federal government has a significant role in the effectiveness of transit which provides essential access to education, employment, medical care, and other activities of daily life. In FY 2002, federal funding to local transit agencies totaled $6.7 billion. Communities must have effective transit systems. Many individuals depend on public transit for their mobility.
The Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Formula program makes grants to states for distribution to nonprofit agencies to meet the tailored needs of the elderly and individuals with disabilities. This federal program is particularly important in Hawaii. Hawaii has a large and growing elderly population. Between 1990 and 2000, Hawaii's population of residents over the age of 65 grew by 29 percent. This was the fifth fastest rate of growth in that age demographic in the country. Hawaii received $421,383 for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Formula program in FY 2002.
Today, we will further examine ways in which we can improve and expand services for the disabled, elderly, and low income families in the reauthorization of TEA-21. This discussion is extremely significant for Hawaii as we evaluate ways to provide better transportation services for those with special needs. I thank the witnesses for appearing today and I look forward to their testimony.