I am the parent and guardian of a young disabled adult, living in North Oakland County, who will never be able to drive a vehicle.
The audacity of three northern Oakland County politicians, state Rep. Andrea Schroeder, state Sen. Ruth Johnson and state Sen. Jim Runestad, to indicate the elderly and disabled do not want or need public transportation is a shining example of how completely out of touch Schroeder, Johnson, and Runestad are with the daily struggles of constituents.
Furthermore, the bills introduced by these lawmakers will strip the ability of north Oakland residents to exercise their right to vote on whether or not they want public transportation expanded in the communities where they work and live. This is a decision for the residents of the community, not politicians.
The transportation available currently only transports Clarkston residents to certain locations in Independence and Springfield townships with limited opportunities for transportation to Pontiac hospitals and a few shopping centers.
A minimum notice of 48 hours is required for any transportation and they are only available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. My daughter has numerous medical specialists, none of which are accessible through the currently available transportation.
In addition, most of the available job training opportunities for the disabled through community services are not accessible from the current transportation system.
My child lives with me, and I have spent a great deal my life driving her to every medical, academic and social service appointment necessary. This is a privilege to be in a position to give my child these opportunities, and the time commitment rendered me unable to work a full time job in my trained profession.
Most families are not as fortunate, and must work outside the home, thus leaving any disabled or aged individual with very little opportunity to contribute to and engage with the community.
The north Oakland community should absolutely have the opportunity to vote on transit opportunities. Passing a law that allows townships to block any measure providing for public transportation on the ballot is essentially taking away the voice of voters. If we expect the disabled to fully participate and contribute to society to the best of their abilities, we must offer them all the tools to reach their full potential.
Rep. Schroeder and Sen. Johnson are completely out of touch with disabled and aged residents, and should seriously consider their obligation to represent the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.
I am extremely disappointed in the blatant disregard for the those less able, and urge the residents of this community to speak up for those with little or no voice, as their elected official do not. Oakland Country residents demand our right to vote on the issue of expanding public transportation.
Kara Dailey Sprague