Disability Access Hits Opposition in Senate Infrastructure Debate

By Hadriana Lowenkron: For Complete Post, click here…

An amendment aimed at boosting ADA compliance for public transit agencies was criticized as a “woke planning mandate” by a GOP senator. 

Just days after the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Senate defeated an amendment in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill aimed at boosting transit accessibility. 

Introduced in May by Democratic Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth as the All Station Accessibility Program Act, the legislation brought to the Senate floor Tuesday as an amendment to the infrastructure bill would require transit agencies that receive $1.75 billion in federal accessibility grants to create an explicit plan for how they would prioritize accessibility for people with disabilities. A clause in the amendment also stipulates that transit agencies commit to addressing “equity of service to all riders regardless of income, age, race, or ability, taking into account historical and current service gaps for low-income riders, older individuals, riders from communities of color and riders with disabilities.” 

The amendment failed to pass in a Senate vote on Tuesday, losing 48-50 mostly on party lines, with West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Maine independent Angus King joining Republican opposition. But it was not so much the final results as it was the line of argument raised against the bill that has reignited decades-old debates over the need for accessibility. 

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