Thursday, November 8 2012, 06:50 PM CST
Mass Transit Dispute Hurting Disabled Community
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY--"Whatever it takes to fix it, fix it," said Linda Tortorelli.
Linda Tortorelli's 23-year-old autistic son loves visiting the Champaign County YMCA, but he can't get there during the day because of a lack of public transportation.
"It was built for all people so to cut off a segment of our population because of a contract really is frustrating," said Tortorelli.
The problem is a dispute between CUMTD and the Southwest Mass Transit District. Southwest formed six years ago to keep buses out of an area that many tax payers say doesn't need them.
But since then, several families have requested bus service to and from the area, including the new YMCA.
CUMTD spokesperson Bill Volk says it's CUMTD's policy not to service areas controlled by another transit district, but the Southwest Mass Transit district says they're not stopping buses from serving the YMCA.
"I get both sides but at some point the community is losing here and it's time to get together and come out with a solution," said Mark Johnson.
YMCA CEO Mark Johnson says he's heard a lot from concerned community members about the transportation issue, but he says his hands are tied.
"Its frustrating. We're a facility for everyone."
Tortorelli sees the needs of not just her son but the entire community. She is board president of Community Choices, a group that helps adults with developmental disabilities be integrated in the community.
She's considering starting an awareness campaign that would put more pressure on the two sides to come to an agreement.
"There should have been a resolution to this a long time ago," said Tortorelli.
Reported By Liz Lohuis