The Federal Transit Administration on Monday announced some $686 million in grants to retrofit or upgrade rail stations to improve accessibility for those with disabilities or mobility needs. The grants come from the first round of funding under the All Stations Accessibility Program, part of $1.75 billion over five years from the 2021 infrastructure law.
According to FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez, speaking at a press conference, more than 900 of the 3,700 rail stations in the U.S. remain inaccessible, having been built prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
The first round of ASAP grants will go to improve 28 stations in nine states, Fernandez said. States that will receive funding include Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington.
Projects highlighted by the FTA include:
- $254 million to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to make three subway stations in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx fully accessible.
- $118 million to the Chicago Transit Authority to modernize three stations with elevators, ramp upgrades and other enhancements.
- $56 million to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to modernize five subway stations, including both platform levels of the Fairmount station.
“Transit is designed to be the great connector, but only if you can physically get aboard is that actually possible,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking at the press conference.
While this round of funding from the ASAP program will reach just a small portion of the 900 inaccessible legacy stations, a senior FTA official said in response to a question during the press conference that other formula funding is available to transit agencies for capital improvement projects that can also be applied to station accessibility projects.