Disabled riders beg Birmingham for funding - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Disabled riders beg Birmingham for funding

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - More than 10 riders of a non-profit transit service called ClasTran asked Birmingham City Councilors on Tuesday to keep up funding for the service.  

Some riders begged councilors to keep the buses running.  

"I need to get to work, how else am I gonna get there if y'all cut that out?," said one rider.  

"I want help to get where I'm going, said Shelia Blackwell.  "But I need y'all to work with me."

Another rider, Bill Crawford, told the audience he didn't know how he'd get around without it.  

"ClasTran is vital to myself and all these people who are in chairs in this room," said Crawford.  "Please consider, don't cut the ClasTran service."

Councilor Carole Smitherman said it wasn't about numbers for her, rather the people involved.   

"My heart," Smitherman said.  "My heart, you touched my heart."  

Birmingham only funded ClasTran last year due to the county's financial burden. This year, though, the seriousness of the funding situation is back.  Councilor Kim Rafferty, who's asking state and federal leaders to step up to the plate, says Birmingham can't do it alone.  

"How can we encourage these folks to be the best they can be and then leave them high and dry when they try to become independent adults?" Rafferty said.  

Birmingham will look at it's funding next month, which is mid-year, to decide if they have enough money to help ClasTran and other non-profits.  

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