« AnteriorContinuar »
with respect to these low-level, low-capacity, low-level coaches, would not accomplish anything affirmative, and would just cost us and the Federal Government in the end money; and also make it harder for us to meet our objective, which is to get out of Federal subsidy altogether.
Mr. LUKEN. And to provide safety. You may have that impossible choice.
Mr. CLAYTOR. That is right.
Mr. CLAYTOR. A significant point. The capital expenditures we just authorized, including some that we authorized at our board meeting yesterday, involve safety measures recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board. We are moving on that as far as we can get the money. But they take a lot of money.
We give them a very high priority. But again, we can't do it all with not enough money, unless we have a separate appropriation to take care of these stations. See, we are in good shape on everything except the stations, most of which we don't own.
We have taken a position which we are trying to follow up, uniformly, that Amtrak's job is to run safe, comfortable, convenient trains. When we get to the town that wants to be served by the train, the city has got to come up and put up the money for a station if they need a new station.
Most places, they do. When we start a few service along with a new line, we take the initial position that we will make stops only at cities that will provide 100 percent of the cost of building the new station.
In most cases, there is no station there at all. If not, we will run on through if there is no station. We have to do that, I think, if we are going to continue to move ahead financially, as I am determined to do.
This is just another, another expense in connection with stations. We don't want to spend money on stations for any purpose, and if you have to spend money on stations to meet this statute, that has got to come outside of the Amtrak budget.
Otherwise, we are going to be in real trouble.
Mr. LUKEN. You are urging that the requirement of accessibility on the standard train or standard car, be limited to a certain percentage of those cars so that you can provide one per train, is that right?
Mr. CLAYTOR. At least one per train, and this is only with respect to coaches. All of our sleeping cars are going to have handicapped capability. All of our superliner cars, which are these very much larger doubledecker cars that we run in the West, have a far bigger capacity in each car, and it is both less, less-it does less to cut down our capacity, and costs less to put handicapped accessibility in the downstairs of those cars.
When you get to the kind of cars that we have to use here in the East, the low-level coach, it is a substantial diminution of the coach's earning capacity to take out five seats out of every car and put in this facility. We can do this with 20 percent of the new cars we buy and that will give us plenty of handicapped-accessible coaches, to put one on every train and-Metroliners are only five or six cars long.
On longer trains, we could put as many as two or sometimes three. But with this 20 percent, it would give us all the handicapped-accessible coaches that we need to provide the needs of the handicapped. That is what we are asking.
Mr. LUKEN. Well, in order to provide you with that flexibility an amendment would be necessary to the Senate bill, is that right?
Mr. CLAYTOR. Yes.
Mr. CLAYTOR. Yes, sir. Our suggestions are attached to the back of my prepared statement.
Mr. LUKEN. I just wanted to make sure that that was the case. Mr. CLAYTOR. Yes, sir.
Mr. LUKEN. Well, I think you have covered the essential parts, and my time has expired. The gentleman from Kansas is recognized.
Mr. WHITTAKER. You suggest on page 7 that it be clarified to include Amtrak explicitly, since it is not covered by current language of the House bill, section 202(a), or the Senate bill, section 302(a). This raises a related inquiry: is Amtrak exempt from the employment discrimination requirements of ADA?
Because it is a "corporation wholly owned by the United States"'? Mr. CLAYTOR. No, no. Let me ask Mr. Carol to respond.
Mr. CAROL. Sir, as I understand it, we would be covered under the employment sections, and we intend to be covered under title VII for all the other type of discriminations as well.
Mr. WHITTAKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for testifying, Mr. Claytor. With respect to this requirement on new equipment, and you suggested 20-percent requirement, what are the arguments against your approach?
Mr. CLAYTOR. I think only that they would just like to have every car fixed. It would be very nice to have every car fixed, and if you were going to get on a train, you don't have to get on a particular car, you can get on any car.
But it seems to me that this means that in most cases, a very large proportion, and that is true today in fact, already, a large proportion of these special facilities would not be used by any handicapped people, and you would be cutting out five revenue seats out of 60 to 80 seats on the car.
That is a significant percentage of loss of revenues. These are high revenue seats on things like our Metroliner. As long as we can be sure to take care of the handicapped people who want to go, it seems to me that this is reasonable. The statute already requires only that a handicapped car be on the train.
If there is a very long train, we normally would try to have more than one. But that, we are able to do that. Twenty percent, one out of every five cars bought would clearly maintain our stock of handicapped-equipped cars quite adequately.
Mr. MCMILLAN. To me, I think your argument is persuasive. The important thing is that there are enough handicapped-accessible seats on each train to meet the demand.
Mr. CLAYTOR. That is right. This would enable us, clearly, to do that.
Mr. McMILLAN. Now, if we basically solve this problem through station modification, you see equipment is essentially-you are in good shape, I think is the way you put it, with respect to equipment.
Mr. CLAYTOR. Yes, sir.
Mr. McMILLAN. With the exception of the 100 percent requirement on future purchases of coaches.
Mr. CLAYTOR. That is on new cars. We hope, we have just gotten enough capital money or are about to get enough to make a substantial purchase of new cars. And to have to put a handicapped seat in every one of the coaches that we buy, we will put it in all the other cars anyway for our own convenience.
It is convenient and not as expensive. But to put them in the small coaches is just an unnecessary expense and an unnecessary loss of revenue.
Mr. McMILLAN. Could you give us an estimate of incremental capital costs of doing that and the annual loss of the revenue
Mr. CLAYTOR. Oh, yes. We can estimate-I will give you the clearest-cut case, would be to give you the loss of revenue right here in the Northeast Corridor, because many of these cars-
Mr. McMILLAN. Or do it by car.
Mr. CLAYTOR. We will do so, and give the cost of the installation. Yes.
Mr. McMillan. Now, if you got the 20 percent that you are seeking, that doesn't present any real operating problem in major locations in terms of the placement of the car on the train and its accessibility to the point at which it stops, at a given station?
Mr. CLAYTOR. No, sir; no, sir.
Mr. McMILLAN. Because, well, in major traffic centers, the objective wouid be to have the station platform at the floor car level?
Mr. CLAYTOR. That can only be done in really major stations. It is an extraordinarily expensive thing to do in the country, and we have other problems. Take Chicago. The main terminal in Chicago covering Union Station, that station served both Superliner cars, the doubledecker cars that run in the West, and the low-level cars that run in the East.
A high platform cannot be used by a Superliner car. It is inconsistent. The Superliner car has to have a low platform so that you can't put high platforms anywhere. Anywhere where you have a Superliner train, you have to have a low platform or it can't get into the station.
So, actually, the low platforms will continue to be the usual situation in all except major eastern terminals that do not use the high-level cars.
Mr. McMILLAN. You mentioned the manual lift--
Mr. McMILLAN. Which you attributed a $3,500 cost to the lift itself and probably an additional cost possibly of equal amount. I have no idea, to house it.
Mr. CLAYTOR. Probably at least an equal amount. The housing would be required, of course, only in the small place that doesn't have a proper station building or baggage room. We normally keep the lifts in our other stations in the baggage room.
Mr. McMILLAN. Is it not feasible to maybe build just a permanent ramp?
Mr. CLAYTOR. No, that would not be feasible, for lots of reasons. The ramp would interfere with clearances of freight trains going by, for one thing, the railroad would not permit. We actually explored that in one case and found that the railroad found it would be inconsistent.
Mr. MCMILLAN. Even though a raised platform wouldn't.
Mr. CLAYTOR. Yes, the raised platform would. They are not, therefore, not used anywhere where freight trains are. The only place we have a raised platform is in Washington, Union Station. Penn Station in Philadelphia, that sort of thing. You, as a matter of fact-New Carrollton station outside of Washington has a high platform and one side of that station, freight trains, Conrail freight trains have to go buy. We had to put in a special track that moved the freight train through a switch a little bit out from the platform and then back when it goes past the station.
We could do that at that one place because it is a very important place. But it is not the kind of thing one can do generally around the country. It is extraordinarily expensive. So that is the only way a high platform is inconsistent with freight train operations on the same track-as is any kind of ramp.
Mr. MCMILLAN. Is it not feasible to provide a lift on the car itself to meet the requirements?
Mr. CLAYTOR. That is—we have attempted to study that. No one has ever come up with anything that one could do that wouldn't be so expensive as to be almost beyond possibility. I very much oppose trying to get a mechanical thing like that, which will be used occasionally once in a blue moon and will almost always not work when you need it, because it is not used most of the time.
I think it is not feasible mechanically, anyway.
Mr. McMILLAN. One final question. With respect to notification, don't you require a notification anyway for any passenger in certain stops?
Mr. CLAYTOR. No, no. This is advance notification, 12 or more hours in advance, so we can send messages down the line to make certain to have a lift ready or to have an operator ready, to have a red cap with a wheelchair and that sort of thing.
Mr. McMILLAN. But if I am not disabled and show up at that same stop, do I have to give you notification that I am boarding the train?
Mr. CLAYTOR. Only if it is a flag stop. If it is a regular stop, you don't. We have relatively few flag stops. As a matter of fact, a flag stop, you can flag the train yourself. The railroads have always done that. The passenger can wave the train down. The engineer is instructed to look out if there is anyone on the platform who wants to get on, he stops the train.
So, no notification is required for that sort of thing. You tell the conductor if you want to get off at a flag stop, but you don't have to tell a conductor when you want to get on a train.
Mr. McMILLAN. Thank you very much. I yield back.
Mr. LUKEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Člaytor. It has been very helpful.
Mr. CLAYTOR. Thank you, sir. It is always a pleasure. We will be glad to submit the information requested. If there are any other questions, we would be glad to submit them in writing.
Mr. LUKEN. We will do that.
Mr. LUKEN. Next we will have the panel listed as the second panel: Mr. Lawrence Roffe; Phil Calkins; Tim Cook; James Raggio; and Dennis Cannon.
Mr. Lawrence Roffe, executive director of the Access Board, for short.
STATEMENTS OF LAWRENCE ROFFE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AR
CHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD, ACCOMPANIED BY DENNIS CANNON, ACCESSIBILITIES SPECIALIST; PHILIP CALKINS, PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES; AND TIM COOK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DISABILITY ACTION CENTER
Mr. ROFFE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to be here today on behalf of the Architectural Compliance Board. With me is our general counsel, to my right, Jim Raggio; and to my left, Dennis Cannon, our accessible transportation specialist.
Mr. LUKEN. We have your testimony in writing, which will be received without objection. You may proceed in any way you think may be helpful. Mr. ROFFE. Thank you.
The Architectural Compliance Board-we like to be called the Access Board-was established by Congress 16 years ago to ensure that buildings which are designed, constructed, altered or leased with Federal funds are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
The Access Board has been responsible for developing and refining through active research programs, the minimum guidelines and requirements for accessible design. These guidelines represent the state of the art in creating an environment usable by all people and serve as the model for the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS).
Those standards are used to implement the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. They are followed by post offices, government buildings, and federally financed housing and transit facilities across the country.
The Access Board has studied the many and various architectural, transportation, communication and attitudinal barriers which limit the full participation of disabled citizens in our society, and has published a series of technical papers and staff reports on eliminating these barriers.
For example, lifts and wheelchair securement provides guidance on providing access to buses and paratransit vehicles. Aircraft stowage procedures and battery powered wheelchairs explains how to stow power wheelchairs on aircraft in accord with hazardous materials regulations.
Transit facility design for persons with visual impairments gives guidance to transit facility designers and operators on making transit systems usable by persons with visual impairments.