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ADA ensures that transportation is the lifeline Americans need

ADA ensures that transportation is the lifeline Americans need

From day one, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has talked about transportation as a lifeline connecting people with opportunities and services. And today, the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, is a fitting reminder that the work we do at DOT makes transportation more and more accessible...for everyone.

Whether it's the Federal Highway Administration ensuring that existing sidewalks are modernized for ADA-compliance when States use FHWA funds to improve their roads or the Federal Transit Administration supporting One-Call Centers to help people connect with on-demand transportation services, DOT is working hard to boost the mobility of all Americans.

Photo of man in wheelchair being assisted as he boards paratransit bus

The nation's public transit systems, for example, have played a vital role in fulfilling the promise of the ADA, and Administrator Peter Rogoff has made sure that, every step of the way, the FTA has been a vital resource. Today, nearly 100 percent of the nation’s transit bus fleet is fully accessible, and transit operators nationwide provide more than 60 million paratransit trips to people whose disabilities prevent them from using fixed-route systems. Of the rail systems that pre-date ADA requirements, more than 660 of 680 key stations are now fully accessible, and at least one car on every train is usable by persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.

Under the leadership of Administrator Victor Mendez, the FHWA has re-doubled its efforts to ensure that all 50 states develop reasonable and feasible time tables to implement ADA transition plans for infrastrucutre that is not yet up to ADA standards.

Photo of workers installing A.D.A. compliant curb cuts in San Francisco

Across the country in areas that have worked to enhance quality of life, those efforts also improve accessibility. By bringing together jobs, schools, housing, and transportation, local leaders are creating connected communities. And when people of all abilities are connected, they have access to all of the benefits and opportunities a community offers.

It's a simple fact--if you can't get to the job, you can't get the job. And if you can't get to a doctor or grocery store, you can't get medical care or the food you need. At DOT, we're helping empower all Americans to get where they need to go.

On this important anniversary, we have a lot we can celebrate. And while we've improved the accessibility of America's transportation system quite a bit, we know we have plenty of work ahead, and we intend to continue doing it.

Todd Solomon works on digital media in the DOT Office of Public Affairs.

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What about in rural areas, where there is no buses and no disability transportation. Where can you go to get transportation?

From my experience, people with disabilities, are still not having their constitutional right to travel, taken seriously by the DOT. 1- Disabled plates and placards are not given full faith and credit in all cities and states in the US which means that for a disabled person who relies on their personal vehicle for interstate travel, they may arrive at their destination only to learn --as I have-that they cannot use it or part it anywhere because the police refuse to recognize and give full faith and credit to their disabled plates or placards issued in other states or jurisdiction's; 2- Rural para transit service is horrific. I takes me up to 7 hours to make a trip using para transit that would take me by car, less than 25 minutes and by mass transit perhaps 50 minutes. Tis unacceptable and the cost is also not comparable; 3- Commuter lanes should allow disabled vans or vehicles even if only carrying once passenger; 4- Airlines should have at least three seats in the plane for disabled people that recline so those of us that have spinal degeneration do not have to fly in agony or be dissuaded from doing so because it is too painful; 5-Para-tranasit eligibility must be standard nationwide because some jurisdictions have such stringent requirements that once a person travels from one jurisdiction to another, their entire life is one hold because they cannot travel. These issues have a "chilling effect" on a disabled person's constitutional right to travel as they inhibit them from doing so or at least create such massive obstructions and dis-incentives that most are left in isolation. This is unacceptable!
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