Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this latest hearing on reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century – TEA-21, and I’d like to join you in welcoming our witnesses.
Mr. Chairman, as the Banking Committee continues its work on the reauthorization of TEA-21, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss how TEA-21 can do a better job in meeting the needs of those who depend on public transportation for their basic mobility. First and foremost among these needs is the need to ensure that the we secure funding for the programs that focus the most on the transit-dependent: the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Formula Program and the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program. These programs have been beneficial throughout the country and especially in my own State of New Jersey.
For FY 02 New Jersey received $2.47 million in funding under the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Program. This money helped senior citizens throughout the state in getting to doctors’ appointments, run shopping errands and visiting friends. Basically, it left them with the ability to remain as independent as possible.
For FY 02 I was proud to work with my colleague, Senator Torricelli, to make sure that New Jersey received $3 million for its share of the Job Access and Reverse Commute program. This helped connect welfare recipients with work as well as provide access to suburban employees who must reverse commute from the city to suburb to find work.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you to develop legislation that continues to provide funding for these and other important programs. Thank you for holding this hearing and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.