Western Mass. residents can wait over a month for handicap parking permits, even after being assured the wait time would be reduced
BOSTON — Senator Eric P. Lesser, along with 13 fellow legislators representing each of the four Western Massachusetts counties, sent a letter on Monday to Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack urging a reduction in wait times for Western Mass. residents applying for temporary handicap placards.
The request comes after a July 19 report by NEPR revealed that Western Mass. residents recovering from injuries can be forced to wait for about a month to receive a temporary handicap placard, with some waiting six weeks or more.
Western Mass. legislators previously addressed the problem with Secretary Pollack in 2016. They received a letter in response from Erin Deveney, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, which claimed that there is an expedited process for temporary placards that had not been followed in Western Mass. RMV offices. Deveney wrote that the RMV would “educate staff further on the best ways the RMV can serve temporary disability parking applicants.”
But the report by NEPR shows that the problem persists.
“It is disturbing to us that we were assured this problem would be fixed only to discover, two years later, that it has not been,” the legislators’ letter reads in part.
“Moreover, this is clearly a pattern in which residents of Western Massachusetts continue to be treated as second-class citizens with unequal access to the state resources enjoyed by residents of Eastern Massachusetts,” the letter also says.
“We were assured two years ago that this problem was fixed, and that wait times for handicap placards would be the same for residents of Western Mass and those living in the Greater Boston area. But that is not the case,” Sen. Lesser said. “Instead, we have a situation where Western Mass continues to be treated unfairly and continues to receive second-rate service despite paying the same taxes.”
In the letter, the legislators urge Secretary Pollack and Deveney to implement the expedited process they claimed was in place for applicants seeking temporary handicap placards. Failing this, the legislators asked Secretary Pollack for her recommendations on potential legislative fixes to the situation, such as a bill that the House and Senate could pass, if necessary.
Finally, the letter requests a concrete plan from the transportation secretary to fix the problem, and explain why it persists two years after the legislators had been assured it would be solved.
The full list of legislators requesting action is below:
- Senator Eric P. Lesser
- Senator James T. Welch
- Senator Anne M. Gobi
- Senator Adam G. Hinds
- Senator Donald F. Humason, Jr.
- Representative Jose F. Tosado
- Representative Bud L. Williams
- Representative John W. Scibak
- Representative Paul W. Mark
- Representative Brian M. Ashe
- Representative Smitty Pignatelli
- Representative Stephen Kulik
- Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose
- Representative Carlos González
Read the full letter here.