Roughly $343 million will be made available to transit agencies this year to make subway and rail stations more accessible to those with disabilities, the Biden administration announced Tuesday.
The tranche of funds comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will be allotted to transit agencies across the country to retrofit rail and subway stations for wheelchair use, officials said.
"Everyone should be able to get to work easily, everyone should be able to get to the people in places they love and the activities that bring them joy," Mitch Landrieu, senior adviser and infrastructure coordinator, said during a call with reporters. "Accessibility should never be a barrier."
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Officials said there are approximately 900 stations across the country that are without elevators and ramps, and therefore not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Officials said these stations were constructed before the passing of the ADA in 1990.
A disabled man in wheelchair waits fora subway train in New York, Nov. 29, 2013.Universal Images Group via Getty Images, FILE
"For many people who use a wheelchair or are blind or low vision, or just have a bad knee or [are] coming out of the surgery, or older folks who have trouble getting up and down stairs, this often means that affordable public transportation by rail is not an option," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. "That is not right, it is not fair."
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The funding will total $1.75 billion over the next five years to make these stations more accessible, the officials said.