Justice Division Settlement Forces Amtrak To Repair ADA Violations

Amtrak has reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice to resolve violations of the Disability Act. (Michael Hibblen / Miami Herald / TNS)

Amtrak will make major changes to over 100 train stations across the country to ensure people with disabilities can finally access their rail network 30 years after the Disabled Americans Act was passed.

As part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this month, Amtrak will fix inaccessible stations and pay $ 2.25 million to people with disabilities who wanted to travel to 78 stations with significant problems.

When the ADA was passed in 1990, legislators gave Amtrak 20 years to comply. However, the Justice Department found that the rail system was not enforced and continues to discriminate against people with disabilities.

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“Amtrak failed or refused to meet the 2010 deadline set by Congress, and Amtrak’s failure to comply with the Disabled Americans Injured People with Disabilities Act. Passengers with disabilities waited long enough, ”said Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Department of Civil Rights at the Department of Justice.

Under the agreement, Amtrak will design at least 135 accessible stations over the next 10 years. The construction of 90 stations should be completed within this time frame and at least 45 more changes should be made. In addition, the rail system has set up a vice president’s office for stations, real estate and accessibility to ensure compliance with ADA regulations, and a settlement fund is being set up to compensate affected travelers.

Amtrak has also agreed to train its employees on ADA requirements and put in place an ADA complaint process.

Kimberly Woods, an Amtrak spokeswoman, said information on eligibility for compensation from the settlement fund will be posted on the Amtrak website by the end of the month. In addition, Woods noted that the rail system invested $ 109 million in improving accessibility over the past fiscal year.

“The agreement reached by DOJ and Amtrak not only resolves the lawsuit, but most importantly builds on and protects important aspects of Amtrak’s longstanding ADA compliance efforts,” said Woods.

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