WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Justice Department reached an agreement with Amtrak Wednesday to resolve the department’s findings of disability discrimination. Under the agreement, Amtrak will pay $2.25 million to resolve civil claims that it discriminated against passengers with disabilities, and agreed to modify train stations that failed to accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers and others with limited mobility.
The Justice Department said “Amtrak has violated and continues to violate the ADA,” even though the railroad was given 20 years to do so since the law’s 1990s passage.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act gave Amtrak until 2010 to make its stations accessible for individuals with disabilities. Amtrak failed or refused to comply with the Congressionally-mandated 2010 deadline, and Amtrak’s noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act injured individuals with disabilities. Passengers with disabilities have waited long enough. “Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division
Dreiband said the historic agreement is a victory for individuals with disabilities, Amtrak, the rule of law, and the promise of equal opportunity for all Americans.
Per the terms of the settlement, Amtrak will be required over the next 10 years to design at least 135 train stations to be more accessible to disabled patrons, complete construction at 90 of those stations, and have at least 45 more under construction.
The $2.25 million will be placed into a settlement fund that will be used to compensate victims who were harmed and unable to readily travel at 78 specified stations.