ADA Wheelchair Lift Grants

Since 1999, the FTA has made about $99 million available to help private motorcoach operators through the over-the-road-bus (OTRB) accessibility grant program (also known as the ADA grant program) thanks to ABA's lobbying efforts in the highway reauthorization bills. The purpose of this grant program is to help defray the costs of compliance for private motorcoach companies under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Operators should note that successful grants typically range between $25,000 and $180,000, with the federal funding providing up to 90% of the project costs (operators have to come up with at least a 10% match).

ABA has prepared some sample grant application materials to assist ABA members in completing their grant applications. Grant funds can be utilized to reduce the impact of the costs of installing lifts into existing fleet vehicles (retrofitting), defray the costs of installing lifts as a component of a new vehicle acquisition, as well as provide training sessions for company personnel relating to customer service interactions with special needs passengers, lift maintenance and other operational activities.

ABA has partnered with Terrapin Blue to provide ABA members with access to tools to help them put together ADA grant application packages as well as serve as a one-stop shop for each operator's grant writing and grant management needs. Terrapin Blue offers ABA members an exclusive 15% discount for their nationally recognized grant writing services.

Contact Terrapin Blue's Laura Curtis to start the ADA grant application process today. She can be reached at (877) 860-2583 x 114 or

ABA also held a special webinar this year to assist motorcoach operators in navigating through the grant application process. This free webinar took place on May 16, 2012.

Please click here to download the slides from that event.


You may contact your FTA Regional Office with questions. You may also contact the FTA's Program Office and Ms. Blenda Younger at (202) 366-4345 or You can contact ABA's Brandon Buchanan with questions at (202) 218-7227 or

More Background Information About the ADA Grant Program

How does the ADA Grant Process Work?

The FTA typically announces the opportunity to submit project applications for the ADA grants on an annual basis. It uses publications such as the Federal Register, and the FTA website. Once the application period (30-60 business days) closes, the grants are ranked and scored by the FTA staff through a competitive process.

The Grant Selection Criteria

The Grant Selection Committee considers:

  • The identified need for over-the-road bus accessibility for persons with disabilities in the areas served by the applicant.

  • The extent to which the applicant demonstrates innovative strategies and financial commitment to providing access to over-the-road buses to persons with disabilities.

  • The extent to which over-the-road bus operator acquires equipment required by DOT’s over-the-road bus accessibility rule prior to the required time frame in the rule.

  • The extent to which financing the costs of complying with DOT’s rule presents a financial hardship for the applicant.

  • The impact of accessibility requirements on the continuation of over-the-road bus service, with particular consideration of the impact of the requirements on service to rural areas and for low-income individuals.

Following the competitive evaluation process, the grant money is then distributed to successful applicants directly, and is administered through each of the FTA regional offices.

ADA Compliance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published the following compliance guidelines to assist operators.

FMCSA ADA Compliance Guidelines

Don't Forget to File Your Annual ADA Usage and Acquisition Reports!

Annual ADA Usage & Acquisition Reports

ADA Service Request Form

The mailing address to which all of your reports reports must be sent is:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Office of Information Management, MC-RIS
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Contact the FMCSA's Peter Chandler with questions at or (202) 366-5763.

Note: Please be aware that you must first fulfill the registration requirements with before you can complete and submit your grant application.

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