THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) OF 1990

On July 26, 1990 President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the first comprehensive federal civil rights legislation for persons with disabilities. Referred to as the ADA, the legislation was monumental in that it guaranteed people access to employment, public accommodations, transportation, public services and telecommunications. The impetus for the landmark civil rights legislation was not without precedent, however, for Congress laid the foundation for the ADA when it passed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.

While the Architectural Barriers Act, as amended, required federal and federally assisted facilities to be accessible to and usable by the physically disabled, the Rehabilitation Act prohibited federal agencies, their grantees and contractors from discriminating against people based on disability. In 1977, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare issued regulations to implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act that required federal grantees to make their programs and jobs accessible to the disabled.

In accordance, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued final regulations and published specific provisions of the ADA. Within these regulations were included specific requirements that public entities operating fixed route service for the general public must also provide complementary paratransit service to individuals unable to use the fixed route system.

The ACRTA has expended a great deal of time and energy in order to meet Section 504 requirements and meet the legislative mandates of the ADA in order to improve transportation for Allen County’s elderly and disabled populations. The ACRTA has continued to participate in numerous transit planning sessions to improve access of the elderly and mobility limited to public transit services. As testament to their commitment, the ACRTA facilitates the Citizens Accessibility Advisory Committee (CAAC), a committee of social service providers and advocates for the poor and the disabled, as required by the ADA, and serves on the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO’s) Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). In addition, all ACRTA employees have actively participated in passenger assistance techniques, first aid, CPR, Operation Lifesaver, blood borne pathogens and sensitivity training for improved passenger relations and passenger safety.