Bustos bill would help disabled with gas

MOLINE – Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, is sponsoring a bill to intended to make it easier for individuals with disabilities to fill up their cars at gas stations.

She joined disability activists at a Hy-Vee gas station in Moline on Friday to talk about the proposed legislation.

The bill would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to study ideas to make it easier for disabled drivers to fill up at gas stations and then make recommendations to Congress.

Starting about three years ago, Hy-Vee began installing buttons at all of its gas stations that disabled individuals can press to alert attendants that they need assistance filling up.

Gary McDermott, a veteran who uses a wheelchair, demonstrated how the system works to reporters at the Hy-Vee gas station on Avenue of the Cities. He supports Rep. Bustos’s bill, which could see systems like the one used by Hy-Vee become more widely available.

“I have found it very difficult to refuel my vehicle and have always had to depend on friends or family, restricting the distance I can travel and expect to be able to refuel my vehicle,” he said.

Rep. Bustos’ bill has won the support of Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat and disabled veteran who represents parts of suburban Chicago. Reps. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, and Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, also support the Refueling Assistance Act.

“Refueling your car to go to work or run errands should be safe and convenient for all drivers,” Rep. Bustos said, adding that she was confident the bill would receive wide support in Congress.