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The United States federal government should substantially increase investment in transportation infrastructure to make it more accessible
Contention one is the medical gaze
Status quo transportation infrastructure is discriminatory – it structurally excludes persons with disabilities
National Council on Disability 2005 - Lex Frieden, Chairperson, Texas¶ Patricia Pound, First Vice Chairperson, Texas¶ Glenn Anderson, Ph.D., Second Vice Chairperson, Arkansas¶ Milton Aponte, J.D., Florida¶ Robert R. Davila, Ph.D., New York¶ Barbara Gillcrist, New Mexico¶ Graham Hill, Virginia¶ Joel I. Kahn, Ph.D., Ohio¶ Young Woo Kang, Ph.D., Indiana¶ Kathleen Martinez, California¶ Carol Novak, Florida¶ Anne M. Rader, New York¶ Marco Rodriguez, California¶ David Wenzel, Pennsylvania¶ Linda Wetters, Ohio¶ Staff¶ Ethel D. Briggs, Executive Director¶ Jeffrey T. Rosen, General Counsel and Director of Policy¶ Mark S. Quigley, Director of Communications¶ Allan W. Holland, Chief Financial Officer¶ Julie Carroll, Senior Attorney Advisor¶ Joan M. Durocher, Attorney Advisor¶ Martin Gould, Ed.D., Senior Research Specialist¶ Geraldine Drake Hawkins, Ph.D., Program Analyst¶ Mark Seifarth, Congressional Liaison¶ Pamela O'Leary, Interpreter¶ Brenda Bratton, Executive Assistant¶ Stacey S. Brown, Staff Assistant¶ Carla Nelson, Office Automation Clerk ( National Council on Disability Members and Staff June 13, 2005 http://disabledinaction.org/ncd_print.html#railtransit1)bs
A glance at government data on accessible rail stations quickly reveals a pattern that has stymied many travelers with disabilities, although this pattern could be perfectly legal under disability rights laws. In relatively new train systems, such as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in Washington, D.C., and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in California, all stations are relatively accessible to people with mobility impairments. But some of the older subway systems, such as New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, have only a minority of their stations accessible and, thus, very limited locations to which many people with disabilities may go, in comparison with the general public. This situation renders the system unusable for wheelchair riders and other individuals who need structural access at stations. At best, it can mean an individual must travel three or four stations out of his or her way, then board a bus to go back in the right direction, rendering any trip so lengthy as to be impractical.
Jim Weisman, general counsel with the United Spinal Association (formerly Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association), has a long history at the forefront of disability transportation rights. His work in New York and Philadelphia on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, an important disability rights law preceding the ADA, became the models for the ADA's key station requirements. Weisman was also deeply involved in the development of the ADA's transportation provisions. His comment on the paucity of accessible stations in some of the older rail systems because of the key station approach is that, in the ADA,
Key stations is all we could get. ... [Regarding the New York MTA], with only about 51 stations currently accessible [out of more than 400 stations in all], rail usage is terrible because travel is difficult. The commuter rail system (Long Island Rail Road and Metro North) is much better, about one in every three stations with elevators and ramps. Commuter stations renovated in the ordinary course of business get made accessible far more often than non-key subway stations renovated in the ordinary course of business, because the 20% disproportionality rule for ADA alterations eliminates elevator installation in subway renovations because costs are so high. ... The key station concept is outdated and should be eliminated; i.e., all stations should ultimately be made accessible, since to do otherwise is to permit discrimination. In short, all passenger rail stations should be made accessible, ending the fragmented access provided under the ADA's limited key station requirements.