Fare increase for disabled ‘un-American’

08/20/2014 3:40 PM

08/20/2014 3:41 PM

Why should residents of Miami-Dade County with disabilities have to pay more to use public transportation? They don’t pay for the construction and maintenance of accessibility ramps in the front of buildings? That’s the government’s — the community’s — responsibility, as agreed to under the landmark legislation passed 25 years ago known as the American’s With Disabilities Act or ADA, enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s budget proposal to increase disabled-transit fares to $4 compared with nondisabled fares of $2.50 is clearly discriminatory and it appears to be in violation of the ADA. How much increased revenue will this egregious policy bring to the county anyway? It’s one thing to raise all transit fares by 25 cents, it’s another thing to single out county residents with disabilities and ask them to pay even more. The mayor’s initially called for disabled-transit fares to be increased to $5, double the standard fare.

This is discriminatory and downright un-American. And it appears to be a violation of the ADA.

This is how our best and brightest leaders figure out how to balance budgets? They intend to save 600 county jobs from the chopping block by literally going after our grandmothers and grandfathers in wheelchairs using public transit, other people born with disabilities, disabled veterans and first responders, and children disabled through no fault of their own?

In one of only seven states not to have an individualized state income tax and where the state corporate income tax is among the lowest county, the state and this county are taxing from the bottom up while multimillionaires and billionaires get subsidies to build and rebuild stadiums and luxury developments.

We need real revenue. Raise the state corporate income tax and raise the county property tax on every property over $1 million, balance the budget and provide the services a world-class American city and its residents demand.

Evan Flugman, Miami

Editor’s note: This letter originally appeared in the Miami Herald’s Opinion page on July 20.

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