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Quigley Introduces Transit Accessibility Innovation Act

Mar 18, 2015
Press Release

Legislation Encourages Public Transit Systems to Improve Service for Individuals with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley, member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD), introduced the Transit Accessibility Innovation Act, along with original co-sponsors Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) and Congressmen Tim Ryan (OH-13), Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Jim Langevin (RI-02). First introduced in 2014, this legislation would create a competitive grant program under the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to encourage transit systems to make public transportation more accessible and user-friendly for individuals with disabilities. 

“Public transit improves the quality of life for people in Chicago and around the country by making cities more accessible, livable, and environmentally friendly. However, the benefits of public transit cannot be fully realized until everybody is guaranteed access,” said Rep. Quigley. “The Transit Accessibility Innovation Act would make public transportation more accessible for all members of our communities, opening up new possibilities for so many citizens and helping our cities grow and thrive.”

Through this legislation, a new pilot program would be created to encourage transportation systems to become more accessible and address existing deficiencies in service for individuals with disabilities. Grants would be awarded on a competitive basis and the FTA would evaluate applicants based on six long-term outcomes, including community integration, safety, accessibility, quality, coordination and customer service. Projects that could be replicated in other communities would be given particular consideration. 

“Accessible public transportation is essential in order for people with disabilities to live independently with strong connections to their community. Access to public services, employment and health care empowers these individuals and puts them on a path to success,” said Rep. Langevin, a founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus. “As we approach the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are reminded that equal access for all Americans is our responsibility, and we must do everything in our power to make it a top priority for public transit systems.”

The Transit Accessibility Innovation Act has the support of the Easter Seals, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, the United Spinal Association, the Transportation Equity Network and the Community Transportation Association of America.

As Illinois’ only member on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Quigley has pushed for a long-term surface transportation bill and prioritized Chicago-area infrastructure investments as a member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD). Most recently, Rep. Quigley led a bipartisan letter to the THUD Subcommittee with 10 members of the Illinois House delegation urging full funding for mass transit and passenger rail in next year’s THUD budget. Along with Rep. Lipinski, he introduced the Reassuring Adequate Investment in Lifesaving Systems or the RAILS Act, which reauthorizes the Railroad Safety Technology Grants Program to provide critical funding for train control technologies and other new rail safety items. Rep. Quigley has also pushed for the Positive Train Control Amendment and helped set aside $60 million in the FY14 omnibus to fund the Railroad Safety Technology Grants Program in its final year. He has helped secure $35 million in Core Capacity grants to benefit CTA and $61 million for projects to ease flooding in Cook County. Most recently he fought for increased funding for the TIGER grant program to benefit both highways and pedestrian projects.