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O’Neill Proposes Expansion of Transportation for Elderly and Disabled in Southbury

Rep. Arthur J. O'Neill (R-Southbury)
Rep. Arthur J. O'Neill (R-Southbury)

HARTFORD – Representative Arthur J. O’Neill (R-69) has proposed legislation this session of the General Assembly which would provide transportation to nonemergency medical appointments for elderly and disabled residents of Southbury.  The aim of the legislation is to expand busing service for those who need transportation to Danbury Hospital and other medical offices in Danbury.

Danbury Hospital used to provide transportation to Southbury residents who needed medical services there, but due to a $34 million budget cut over two years which was proposed and enacted by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Danbury Hospital ceased this service to Southbury residents in November of 2013.

“Many Southbury residents that relied on that transportation service from Danbury Hospital have approached me,” said Rep. O’Neill. “I opposed the cuts in Governor Malloy’s last budget which caused this service to be terminated, and I have continually supported proposals to restore that critical funding.  In the meantime, I am proposing a statutory expansion of the transportation service area to residents in Southbury so that they will now be able to travel to Danbury for their medical needs.  I am hoping this will help those residents in need in the meantime.”

The bill, HB 5157, An Act Concerning Nonemergency Transportation Services for Elderly and Disabled Residents of Southbury, would require the existing transportation provided by the Department of Social Services and the Department of Transportation in Southbury to expand to the Danbury area.  It has been referred to the legislature’s Appropriations Committee and awaits action there.

O’Neill, who has been working with Danbury Hospital, Heritage Village and local officials to find solutions to the service issue, said the funds cut from hospitals needs to be restored, and he pledged to continue to work to make that happen this session.  Thus far, Governor Malloy has not proposed restoring the funds despite a projected $500 million budget surplus this fiscal year.

The 2014 session of the Connecticut General Assembly commenced on February 5th, and will conclude at midnight, May 7th.

Tom Oakes March 12, 2014 at 09:42 AM
So the $10,000 question (am I showing my age?) is, "Are you willing to pay more in taxes or increase the debt to make it happen?"
charles jeremiah March 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM
So, we should wait until they get so sick that they need to be sent to the emergency room? That’s far more expensive for everyone on a lot of different levels. The governor claims we have a $500 million surplus; surely we can afford to help out the sick elderly and people with disabilities. We can help our neighbors. This isn’t about politics, this is about people.
Tom Oakes March 12, 2014 at 02:46 PM
I'm not against spending money to insure medical care for people that need it. In fact, I’m whole-heartedly in favor of it. What I'm against is passing legislation for programs that aren't funded. If O'Neil's legislation included a mechanism to pay for it, I'd be all in. But a budget surplus is not that.
Tom Oakes March 12, 2014 at 03:06 PM
This whole thing is a political gimmick on O'Neill's part. He's completely unwilling to raise revenue to pay for better services in the state and too cowardly to suggest program cuts elsewhere to help pay for improvements. That leaves just one option, gimmicky proposals that make it look like he's solving problems but only end up pushing costs down the road. He's exactly the kind of politician we don't need in this state.
end it now! March 12, 2014 at 11:33 PM
O'Neill is once again trying to run for higher office so it's time to start making nonsense proposals that won't go anywhere. The bus service was dropped due to low ridership. This is clearly a gimmick. Notice how we don't hear from him for ages and then suddenly he keeps popping up in the media? Tom is correct. We need to watch our debt and pension liabilities, not pander to special interests in election years

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