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Construction Program Guide
Americans With Disabilities Act
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, "A public entity shall construct any new facility to be used in providing designated public transportation services so that the facility is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs."(49 CFR 37.41) Also, "When a public entity alters an existing facility or a part of an existing facility used in providing designated public transportation services in a way that affects ... the usability of the facility ..., the entity shall make the alterations ... in such a manner, to the maximum extent feasible, that the altered portions of the facility are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, upon the completion of such alterations."(49 CFR 37.43(a)(1)).
DOT is one of eight designated agencies with regulatory responsibilities under ADA. As such, the Department of Justice refers any ADA-instigated complaints that are even remotely related to transportation to the agency. Within DOT, these complaints are handled by the most appropriate entity. Consequently, a wide variety of issues fall within FHWA's scope, which covers basically anything part of or related to a road or highway. Thus, complaints received about the design of or accessibility related to traffic lights, curb cuts, median strips, ramps, sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks, interstate and highway restroom facilities, parking spaces, parking lots, and any other highway-related facility are FHWA's responsibility. The agency reviews and investigates the complaints and works with the involved state or local organization to resolve the situation.
Additional information on DOT policies on accessibility issues as well as links to other accessibility sites are contained in the U.S. Department of Transportation Accessibility Homepage.