WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)—both members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation—introduced bipartisan legislation to help break down unnecessary barriers that Americans with disabilities continue to experience at Amtrak rail stations across the country.

The bipartisan Think DIFFERENTLY Transportation Act would help bring Amtrak stations up to standards enshrined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring the rail agency to submit annual reports to Congress on the status of its compliance with accessibility standards set by the ADA.

“In the fall, my hometown of Charleston unveiled its upgrades that made the station compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards thanks to over $6 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that I helped craft. However, there are still stations across the country where passenger rail service is not accessible for everyone. I’m pleased to join Senator Duckworth in introducing this legislation that will hold Amtrak stations accountable to being accessible to disabled passengers,” Senator Capito said.

Amtrak serves over 28 million riders per year. However, despite the ADA requiring intercity passenger rail to become accessible within a 20-year time frame, that is not yet the case for many Amtrak stations. From 2017 to 2021, Amtrak received $275 million in federal funds to continue making accessibility upgrades and will continue to receive federal funding to do so through 2025 as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. As of July 2023, Amtrak has only made 30% of its 385 stations accessible to those with disabilities.

“When the ADA was signed into law, it enshrined the promise that intercity passenger rail would become accessible within 20 years—and yet, more than 30 years later, too many Amtrak stations fail to live up to that promise,” Senator Duckworth said. “To build on the progress that my ASAP Act in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is already making, I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Senator Capito to help ensure Amtrak does more to improve accessibility across its rail stations, too. Whether they’d like to travel by transit, rail or plane, all Americans with disabilities should be able to safely and easily access the transportation systems they need to get around—and I won’t stop working until that’s a reality.”

The legislation is supported by the National Disability Rights Network.

To read the full bill text, click here.

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