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Mr. PAGANO. That is right.

Mr. LUKEN. Basically. Of course, none of those definitions are concrete, are they, depending upon the community?

Mr. PAGANO. That is correct.
Mr. LUKEN. Proceed.

Mr. PAGANO. In my testimony today I want to stress our willingness to meet the purposes of the ADA, while noting our concern about certain implications. I will focus on METRA's plan to provide accessibility to all its trains in a cost effective manner that will meet the needs of the disabled community.

METRA oversees all commuter rail operations in the 3,700 square mile northeast Illinois region, with responsibility for day-today operations, fare and service levels, capital improvements and planning.

The METRA system is comprised of seven railroads, which operate on 13 separate lines radiating from the Chicago Loop and serves 100 communities at 208 rail stations. METRA currently directly owns and operates three railroads and has purchase of service agreements with four others. Railroads in the METRA system, collectively, operate more than 3,600 trains weekly over approximately 1,200 miles of track. Our fleet consists of 131 diesel locomotives, 686 bilevel commuter cars and 209 self-propelled electric cars. On an average weekday, over 140,000 people board our trains twice daily. In 1988, the METRA system carried more than 68.5 million passenger trips, accounting for about one-fifth of all commuter rail trips in the Nation. Over the last 5 years METRA has experienced annual ridership growth of anywhere from 4 to 6 percent.

Passage of the Americans With Disability Act will have a profound impact on METRA. I am pleased to say that extensive planning by METRA will permit, for the most part, timely compliance with ADA's requirements. We have spent a considerable amount of time and money over the past several years engaged in a number of activities aimed at improving accessibility for the disabled residents of, and visitors to the METRA service area. These efforts include: Ongoing implementation of accessibility improvements to existing stations and accessible design for all new construction; operation of a growing lift equipped paratransit service to provide “raillike" service to disabled people using wheelchairs; and detailed analysis of options for permitting the use of METRA diesel powered services by persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.

These efforts, undertaken in consultation with Chicago area representatives of people with disabilities, have put METRA in the desirable position of being prepared for the central requirements of Americans With Disability Act, and have also given us keen insight into compliance.

We believe that as Congress prepares to expand and confirm the rights of the disabled in our society, it should give serious thought to how the costs of these necessary changes are to be met.

METRA's overall capital needs over the next 10 years already exceed projected available funding by approximately $600 million. It should be brought to the committee's attention that this projected shortfall would have been even more substantial if it were not for legislative action, just taken by the State of Illinois, that pro

nois law, it is mandated that the Region's cost recovery ratio (revenue vs. expenses) must be at least 50 percent. Thus, METRA must be extremely sensitive to any ab normal cost conditions that must be met over time; and (3) increased accessibility is likely to have an impact on the schedule and on-time performance of METRA trains. Significant disruptions could affect ridership and revenue. It difficult to quantify such potential impact, but METRA believes that the one car per train re quirement that we advocate in this testimony will do the most to ensure that scheduling delays are kept to a minimum, to the advantage of the able-bodied and the disabled alike. METRA's on-time performance over the last five years average 98 percent, and our market research indicates that riders consider this a key element in their decision to use the system.

We doubt that anyone will take issue with the notion that accessibility ought to be achieved in the most cost-effective manner possible. One of the key provisions of the ADA bill requires that within 5 years commuter rail services provide that at least one car per train is accessible to disabled persons, including wheelchair users.

METRA supports and applauds this provision. We are in the process of imple menting a plan, recently approved by the METRA Board, that will produce this result. In fact, our plan will provide a degree of certainty and reliability not required in the legislation. Under this plan, all cab cars on our trains will become accessible as quickly as possible. Our rail car purchase program will be revised so that the only cars purchased in the next several years will be accessible cab cars. The effect of this plan is that METRA will be providing cost-effective, accessible service on all its trains.

To understand why this proposal is uniquely workable in the case of METRA's type of operation, I must first explain how the "push-pull” diesel service works. For most of passenger railroading's history, locomotives could only pull passenger cars, and if the train was to reverse direction, the train had to be physically turned around, often with the use of a turntable. Push-pull service, on the other hand, allows operation of a train in either direction by employing a "cab-control car" at the end of the train opposite the locomotive. Otherwise similar to the predominant passenger cars (called trailers), the cab-car has a crew compartment with the full complement of controls needed to run the train. In “push-pull” mode, the train crew occupies the locomotive. In “push” mode, the locomotive, of course, continues to supply motive power, but the crew occupies the other end of the train controlling its functions from the cab-control car. Operationally, this offers the major advantage of not having to physically turn trains at the end of a run. Instead, the crew simply locks up controls on one end of the train, walks through to the other end, and re sumes operation in the opposite direction.

Push-pull operation is employed on every diesel line in the METRA system, and, therefore, every single train operated must have at least one cab control car. Trains on the METRA system are not, and cannot be, operated without a cab-control car. This was the main reason that our recently completed Accessible Railcar Design Project concluded that making cab-cars accessible was the best way to ensure full accessibility on the METRA system. There were additional reasons for choosing the cab-car including: The cab car has already been established as a specialized piece of equipment, requiring more intensive inspection and maintenance than trailer cars; the cab car's location on the train ensures that, at downtown terminals, the car will be located at the most advantageous boarding position possible, minimizing travel distances for disabled people to and from the station entrances; and use of the cab car was strongly endorsed by our project review committee, composed of wheelchair users find other disabled people, which worked closely on design details throughout the course of the project.

However, the ADX does not allow for the kind of innovative approach we have taken to providing accessibility. Under the Senate passed bill, every new rail car would also have to be accessible. This requirement will impose substantial additional costs on METRA for very little additional benefit. Our approach of making all cab cars accessible would provide equivalent, if not better service. If demand increases, we can simply make more wheelchair locations available on each cab car.

I want to stress that our plan to make cab cars accessible has been strongly endorsed by METRA's project review committee, composed of wheelchair users and other disabled. We take this endorsement as recognition by the disabled community of the fact that full access to commuter rail services can be accomplished without a budget-busting requirement that every individual car have a rift. We hope that Congress will come to the same responsible conclusion reached by our disabled community.

As a final but very important note, Congress must recognize that this legislation. even if tailored to be highly cost-effective, will impose substantial costs over and PREPARED STATEMENT OF PHILIP A. PAGANO, ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR

CORPORATE ADMINISTRATION, METRA, THE COMMUTER RAIL DIVISION OF THE NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS (CHICAGO) REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

I am here today to comment on the Americans with Disabilities Act as it is likely to affect my organization, METRA, and the many people we serve.

In my testimony today, I want to stress our willingness to meet the purposes of the ADA, while noting our concern about cost implications. I will focus on METRA's plan to provide accessibility to all its trains in a cost-effective manner that will meet the needs of the disabled community.

METRA oversees all commuter rail operations in the 3,700 square mile northeast Illinois region, with responsibility for day-to-day operations, fare and service levels, capital improvements and planning. A division of the Regional Transportation Authority, METRA was formed in 1985 and is the first agency in the history of the region to focus solely on commuter rail.

The METRA system is comprised of 7 railroads which operate on 13 separate lines radiating from the Chicago Loop and serves 100 communities at 208 local rail stations. METRA currently directly owns and operates three railroads and has purchase-of-service agreements with four others. Railroads in the METRA system, collectively, operate more than 3,600 trains weekly over approximately 1,200 miles of track. Our fleet consists of 131 diesel locomotives, 686 bilevel commuter cars and 209 self-propelled electric cars. On an average weekday, over 130,000 people board our trains twice daily. In 1988, the METRA system carried more than 68.5 million passenger trips, accounting for about one-fifth of all commuter rail trips in the nation.

Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act will have a profound impact on METRA. I am pleased to say that extensive planning by METRA will permit, for the most part, timely compliance with ADA's requirements.

We have spent a considerable amount of time and money over the past several years en aged in a number of activities aimed at improving accessibility for the disabled residents of, and visitors to, the METRAservice area. These efforts include: Ongoing implementation of accessibility improvements to existing stations and accessible design for all new construction; operation of a growing lift equipped paratransit service to provide “rail-like" service to disabled people using wheelchairs; and detailed analysis of options for permitting the use of METRA diesel-powered services by persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.

These efforts, undertaken in consultation with Chicago area representatives of people with disabilities, have put METRA in the desirable position of being prepared for the central requirements of ADA, and have also given us keen insight into the cost of compliance.

It is the projected cost of compliance for which we are unprepared. We believe that as Congress prepares to expand and confirm the rights of the disabled in our society, it should give serious thought to how the costs of these necessary changes are to be met.

METRA's overall capital needs over the next ten years already exceed rejected available funding by approximately $600 million. It should be brought to the Committee's attention that this projected shortfall would have been even more substantial if it were not for legislative action just taken by the State of Illinois that pro vides an infusion of almost $560 million to METRA for capital improvements coming from an increase in the State gas tax. These spending needs cover an aspects of METRA's operations such as bridge rehabilitation, signals and communications improvements, and upgrading station facilities, and include capital commitments to improve services for the disabled. Our projected capital shortfall over the next decade reflects significant investments already made over the past few years directed specifically to meeting the needs of the disabled. The imposition of major new capital requirements to comply with this bill obviously will exacerbate METRA's projected budgetary situation.

For your consideration, here is a list of several items that win represent additional costs to improve accessibility for the disabled: (1) METRA estimates that providing one accessible car on every train will add about $45 million to our railcar acquisition program. In addition to the capital investment, we expect to incur an annual increase in operating costs of at least $235,000; (2) METRA estimates an annual revenue loss could result, depending on usage, from $470,000 to $630,000 per year be cause of the seat loss on cars designed to be accessible. To relieve this situation, it may be necessary to add more commuter cars beyond normal requirements, further exacerbating our capital requirements. In discussing the impact of projected operating cost increases on revenue loss, the committee should be aware that under Illi

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nois law, it is mandated that the Region's cost recovery ratio (revenue vs. expenses) must be at least 50 percent. Thus, METRA must be extremely sensitive to any ab normal cost conditions that must be met over time; and (3) increased accessibility is likely to have an impact on the schedule and on-time performance of METRA trains. Significant disruptions could affect ridership and revenue. It is difficult to quantify such potential impact, but METRA believes that the one car per train re quirement that we advocate in this testimony will do the most to ensure that scheduling delays are kept to a minimum, to the advantage of the able-bodied and the disabled alike. METRA's on-time performance over the last five years average 98 percent, and our market research indicates that riders consider this a key element in their decision to use the system.

We doubt that anyone will take issue with the notion that accessibility ought to be achieved in the most cost-effective manner possible. One of the key provisions of the ADA bill requires that within 5 years commuter rail services provide that at least one car per train is accessible to disabled persons, including wheelchair users.

METRA supports and applauds this provision. We are in the process of imple menting a plan, recently approved by the METRA Board, that will produce this result. In fact, our plan will provide a degree of certainty and reliability not required in the legislation. Under this plan, all cab cars on our trains will become accessible as quickly as possible. Our rail car purchase program will be revised so that the only cars purchased in the next several years will be accessible cab cars. The effect of this plan is that METRA will be providing cost-effective, accessible service on all its trains.

To understand why this proposal is uniquely workable in the case of METRA'S type of operation, I must first explain how the "push-pull” diesel service works. For most of passenger railroading's history, locomotives could only pull passenger cars, and if the train was to reverse direction, the train had to be physically turned around, often with the use of a turntable. Push-pull service, on the other hand, allows operation of a train in either direction by employing a "cab-control car" at the end of the train opposite the locomotive. Otherwise similar to the predominant passenger cars (called trailers), the cab-car has a crew compartment with the full complement of controls needed to run the train. In “push-pull" mode, the train crew occupies the locomotive. In “push” mode, the locomotive, of course, continues to supply motive power, but the crew occupies the other end of the train controlling its functions from the cab-control car. Operationally, this offers the major advantage of not having to physically turn trains at the end of a run. Instead, the crew simply locks up controls on one end of the train, walks through to the other end, and re sumes operation in the opposite direction.

Push-pull operation is employed on every diesel line in the METRA system, and, therefore, every single train operated must have at least one cab control car. Trains on the METRA system are not, and cannot be, operated without a cab-control car. This was the main reason that our recently completed Accessible Railcar Design Project concluded that making cab-cars accessible was the best way to ensure full accessibility on the METRA system. There were additional reasons for choosing the cab-car including: The cab car has already been established as a specialized piece of equipment, requiring more intensive inspection and maintenance than trailer cars; the cab car's location on the train ensures that, at downtown terminals, the car will be located at the most advantageous boarding position possible, minimizing travel distances for disabled people to and from the station entrances; and use of the cab car was strongly endorsed by our project review committee, composed of wheelchair users find other disabled people, which worked closely on design details throughout the course of the project.

However, the ADX does not allow for the kind of innovative approach we have taken to providing accessibility. Under the Senate-passed bill, every new rail car would also have to be accessible. This requirement will impose substantial additional costs on METRA for very little additional benefit. Our approach of making all cab cars accessible would provide equivalent, if not better service. If demand increases, we can simply make more wheelchair locations available on each cab car.

I want to stress that our plan to make cab cars accessible has been strongly en. dorsed by METRA's project review committee, composed of wheelchair users and other disabled. We take this endorsement as recognition by the disabled community of the fact that full access to commuter rail services can be accomplished without a budget-busting requirement that every individual car have a rift. We hope that Congress will come to the same responsible conclusion reached by our disabled community.

As a final but very important note, Congress must recognize that this legislation, even if tailored to be highly cost-effective, will impose substantial costs over and

above the massive capital needs of METRA and other transit services all over the country. The proposed requirement for an accessible paratransit service, even if METRA trains are accessible, will also add to the costs associated with compliance. The "undue financial burden” language in the legislation is welcome as a means of moderating excessive financial impacts, but does not entirely solve the problem.

Therefore, I urge Congress to give serious consideration to providing transit services the means by which those requirements are to be fulfilled. Federal funding support for public transportation has weakened considerably in recent years, and now we are being asked to do more with less. Accessibility for the disabled is a laudable public policy goal, and we believe such policymaking ought to be accompanied by the funding needed to achieve that goal.

This concludes my prepared testimony and I would be happy to answer any questions the Committee may have.

Mr. PAGANO. Mr. Miller.

STATEMENT OF HENRY MILLER Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. LUKEN. Your testimony will be made a part of the record. You can proceed in any way that will be helpful.

Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am Henry Miller. I am director of government and community relations with New York Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The MTA includes Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority as well as the Metropolitan Commuter Railroad and the Long Island Railroad, the two commuter railroads on which our attention is focused today.

Before I address specific aspects of the Americans With Disability Act, I would like the committee to know the MTA has been working aggressively for years to achieve an accessible transportation system

which meets the principals of the proposed act. As examples of our efforts, I would cite the following: At present, our bus fleet includes 2,800 buses equipped with wheelchair lifts. This represents 80 percent of the bus fleet. By 1990, 89 percent of our bus fleet will be lift equipped. This level will increase steadily until 100 percent is reached; the 100 percent of our subway fleet can accommodate wheelchairs, meaning that the doors are wide enough and the platform gap is small enough to permit wheelchairs to enter, and a program is underway to make key stations in the subway system accessible; and the Metropolitan Transit Authority Commuter Railroad operates 772 commuter rail cars and 93 percent of them can accommodate wheelchairs. The Long Island: Railroad operates 1,100 rail cars and 84 percent of them can accommodate wheelchairs. Thirty-nine percent of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's commuter rail stations are accessible, 35 percent of the Long Island Railroad's stations are accessible.

While we support the goals of the act before us, we have substantial concerns with certain aspects of the bill in its present form. Those concerns focus on the paratransit requirements, the key station determinations, and the vehicle requirements.

I am interested to hear on the subject of paratransit, I am interested to hear the view expressed consistently today that the paratransit requirements of the bill do not apply to the commuter railroads. I would urge that this matter be made explicit in the bill.

There is an uncertainty about that, and a specific aspect of it that additionally concerns us is the requirement in the bill, in the Senate bill, that the transit authority in any given service area be

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