A bill authored by U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro that aims to compel Amtrak to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act will advance to a full vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, the New York congressman announced Wednesday.
The "Think DIFFERENTLY Transportation Act" was voted out of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and has bipartisan co-sponsors.
The bill would direct Amtrak to commission a report to Congress on its ADA compliance for all its trains and rail stations and requires Amtrak to provide a deadline for when the upgrades will be completed by.
The ADA was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and gave intercity rail stations a 20-year window to establish better access for those with disabilities. Molinaro's office said as of July 2023, Amtrak has only made 30% of its 385 stations accessible to those with disabilities. Molinaro also said Amtrak received $275 million in federal funds between 2017 and 2021 for accessibility upgrades and continues to receive near this amount.
"Thirty years after the Americans with Disabilities Act passed – Amtrak’s leadership still has work to do to meet the law and make trains and rail stations accessible to individuals of all disabilities. My bipartisan bill forces the issue, and I am thankful to this committee for sending it to the House Floor," Molinaro said in a statement.
Molinaro represents New York's 19th Congressional District, which stretches from the Massachusetts border west to include parts of the Hudson Valley and Southern Tier, and includes the cities of Binghamton and Ithaca.