Maui News

Neighbor Isle Lawmakers Seek Improved Transportation for Elderly

March 7, 2013, 5:00 AM HST
* Updated March 7, 6:06 AM
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MEO Bus file photo by Wendy Osher.

MEO Bus file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

House lawmakers advanced a bill that seeks to assist elders and individuals with disabilities with transportation needs in rural communities.

Among those voicing support for the bill were officials from the Maui County Office on Aging, Representatives on Maui, and respective authorities in other neighbor island communities.

The Hawaii House of Representatives unanimously passed HB131 HD2, which will create a Task Force on Mobility Management within the State Department of Health to establish a framework for transportation assistance.

Hawaii Island Rep. Cindy Evans, who introduced the measure said, “Transportation is vital to seniors and those with disabilities; it allows them to maintain their independent lifestyle and access critical services such as medical appointments.”

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She went on to say, “It is time for us to work on finding the best solutions to address mobility, especially in rural areas where transportation options are extremely limited and many residents are without family members nearby to provide transportation and are too frail or disabled to access public transit.”

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Supporters of the bill say that across Hawai’i, and especially on the neighbor islands, there is a need for a state-wide policy on mobility management to create a plan to assist individuals without sufficient access to transportation, and identify the best transportation options for their needs.

The item has since been transmitted to the state Senate for further review.

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