February 13, 2012 | Issue #116

Over $8.2 Million Goes To ABA Members For ADA Bus Accessibility Grants

Bookmark and Share

The American Bus Association offers its congratulations to the 97 recipients of the fiscal year 2011 federal funding to help make over-the-road motorcoaches accessible to passengers using wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

Through the U.S. DOT's Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Over-the-Road Bus Accessibility Program nearly $8.8 million was made available in grant awards for intercity fixed route operators and other types (local fixed route, charter, tour, commuter and special operations) of bus operators. ABA members received nearly 95 percent of the grants awarded

"With a typical wheelchair lift costing operators upwards of $40,000 per coach for the lift acquisition, installation and employee training, the costs of meeting DOT's standards have become prohibitive," ABA President and CEO Peter J. Pantuso explained.

The purpose of this special grant program is to assist motorcoach operators in providing accessible transportation services to persons with disabilities in compliance with the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA). The majority of grant awardees in FY 2011 received funding for less than $100,000, which is enough to cover the cost of one or two wheelchair lifts. Funds from this program will also be used to train bus line personnel in the proper operation and maintenance of the lifts, boarding assistance, securing wheelchairs, and other related functions such as customer service.

Since FY 1999, roughly $80 million dollars in FTA grant funds have been distributed thanks to ABA's lobbying efforts for the Over-the-road-bus accessibility grant program. By law, federal funds for this grant program may be awarded to pay for up to 90% of the project costs and operators must provide a 10% cash match. Despite those funds being successfully allocated this year, the announcement that only $8.8 million of the more than $40 million that was requested for grant projects in FY 2011 demonstrates that there is a continuing need for this grant program.

ABA would also like to congratulate its grant writing partner Terrapin Blue for their efforts during the FY 2011 grant cycle. Terrapin Blue successfully secured grant funding for 72 of the 97 (74%) grant award recipients. For FY 2011, ABA partnered with Terrapin Blue to provide grant writing and grant management solutions for ABA members, taking ABA's member services to another level.

There are several ADA compliance deadlines that go into effect for the motorcoach industry on October 29, 2012, including a 100% fleet compliance requirement for large fixed route operators. Operators will want to take advantage of the FY 2012 ADA grant program to ensure that they are positioned to be compliant in 2012.

Please go to http://www.buses.org/Government-Affairs/Federal-Funding/ADA-Wheelchair-Grants for a full listing of the FY 2011 grant recipients.