August 3, 2009
In this weeks Classifieds, you'll find:
6 DBE opportunities
Mineta Honored for a Lifetime of Disability Advocacy
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, and APTA honored former Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta for his lifelong commitment to accessibility and disability rights at a July 26 event in Washington, DC. The event also commemorated the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
In his remarks, Mineta spoke about the inspiration he has found from numerous disability rights advocates, including his promise to a couple with disabilities that he would spend his first week as mayor of San Jose, CA, in a wheelchair—an experience that affected him significantly by “embedding permanently what people go through with the inability to do just ordinary things.” This led him to taking responsibility for the transportation piece of ADA and becoming a leader in transportation accessibility.
Kareem Dale, President Barack Obama’s special assistant for disability policy, announced that the president would sign the CRPD in the coming week, in the hope that U.S. involvement in this movement will propel other countries to sign as well.
Michael Winter, FTA associate administrator for budget and policy, offered a look back on how the ADA has transformed America.
APTA President William Millar introduced Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I), by saying: “We’re here to honor a great man in Norm Mineta. We were thinking of who could introduce him, who knows him very well, who has been through the struggles and fights in Congress, and we immediately settled on Cong. Oberstar. There wouldn’t be language in the transportation law about access if it were not for Jim and his committee.” During Mineta’s tenure in the House, he and Oberstar served together on the predecessor committee to T&I.
Oberstar called Mineta the “driving force behind the transition from the interstate highway era to a new era of transportation that is inclusive, interconnected, and intermodal.” Mineta insisted, said Oberstar, that “we put an emphasis on mobility not just where the roadway takes you, but how we get there. If mobility is going to mean anything, Norm would say, transportation has to be accessible to all.”
APTA Intern Chelsea Wright contributed to this story.