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Mr. HASTERT. Let's be parochial, as my colleague who sat next to me was parochial, in a sense. I serve an area that is really a suburban area of the Chicago metropolitan area. We have worked real hard, both in the years when I was in the legislature and after, to be able to extend out our ridership on the commuter rail.
We have moved the commuter rail, and are still working to move it out even to farther perimeters, maybe 50 miles out of the city of Chicago. In those situations, you may have a station ten minutes apart, or you may have a station five miles apart. Does that mean that every station is a key station, or that the stations ten miles apart would be key stations?
Are we going to treat some people one way and some people another way in this issue? In that situation, maybe every station, in your interpretation, could be a key station. That is why I thought it was important to understand what you are talking about there.
Mr. CLINE. The Senate report language stresses the fact that the negotiated decisions that were reached in Philadelphia and New York would be looked upon as a type of model for determining what level would occur; for example, in Chicago, the situations that you are raising, we would say, again, to look to the New York and Philadelphia agreements that were reached as models.
Mr. HASTERT. I would say that, probably, we Midwesterners would not look kindly on your saying that we are the same as New York and Philadelphia because, quite frankly, we are not. We have different needs and different requirements.
Mr. CLINE. Sir, I would not suggest that you are. Being from Chicago, I can respect that, also. It is just that we would stress that the local process of determining whether a station, for example in Naperville, or a station in Park Ridge, should be accessible should be an issue that is debated and decided upon at the local levels much in the same way that they did that in New York and Philadelphia.
Mr. HASTERT. But not the same criteria as New York and Philadelphia?
Mr. CLINE. No, not at all. It is more a process rather than a specific criteria that would be listed.
Mr. HASTERT. Again, being parochial, but that is my frame of reference I guess; mass transit; let's say the CTA in the city of Chicago has some duplicative transportation options for people. In other words, you can take surface transportation, which is a bus and which would require a lift, or you take the subway. Those routes, many, many times are exactly parallel to each other.
I see a great deal of urban transportation is platform-level transportation. You can come here in the city of Washington and take an elevator down to the station level, the platform level, and you can roll a wheel chair right on board without any lifts or hassle or anything else. It is quite different.
If parallel routes and parallel transportation opportunities were available, would the alternate route also be required to have the same type of access?
Mr. CLINE. It is our belief that the rail would have to be accessible per the current language of the Senate bill.
Mr. HASTERT. What about the parallel bus route on the surface? Mr. CLINE. Yes; the bus routes would also have to be accessible. Mr. HASTERT. So those persons have not only a choice of destination, where they want to go, but a choice of mode of transportation?
Mr. CLINE. That's correct.
Mr. HASTERT. That is your interpretation of the Senate bill. The Senate bill explains that? It lays that out?
Mr. CLINE. It is more a specific reference to the vehicle requirements. The language in the bill is specific to the vehicle requirements rather than the service requirement.
Mr. HASTERT. In the language in the Senate bill dealing with train transportation, commuter trains. We call those METRA in Illinois, meaning not subway but other types of train transportation. It said one car on every train, I understand, would have to be outfitted with a lift facility. Is there a provision in the language, or would there be an opportunity in Rules and Regs to say that that car had to be the engine car, or the motor car? On commuter trains, they use an engine to go one way and, of course, a motor car to go the opposite way with controls.
One of the problems on those types of configurations is that the motor car is always on the train, if that was the designated car for the lift. However, when you start to switch trains and switch cars, if there was just one designated car per train, that might not be in the configuration, if you have a seven-car train as opposed to a three-car train.
It seems to me that a practical solution to this would be to say that the motor car would be the car with the lift and solve a lot of problems.
Mr. CLINE. My understanding of the bill is that it does not specify which particular car would have to be accessible but rather that one car per train, only, be accessible.
Mr. HASTERT. Then, is there any provision in that bill that says new cars coming on-line have to have lift accessibility?
Mr. CLINE. Yes; the rail provision is the same as the bus provision, that within 30 days of the enactment of this Act, all solicitations for the procurement of new vehicles would require lift accessibility or accessibility provisions.
Mr. HASTERT. The situation with comparable service, if there were parallel routes—and I am talking about bus transportation and specialized transportation to pick up people on demand, a phone call-say, if you took an hour to walk to a place or to be wheeled to a place, or to wheel to a place and then a twentyminute wait for a bus-compared to that comparable time, if you made a phone call and that service could be provided to you within an hour at your doorstep, how would that be interpreted?
Mr. CLINE. I want to stress a point that we made earlier, too, that the Senate report specifically refers to certain service criteria that can be used in determining the level of comparable service and time. Response time is one of those criteria so, as mentioned earlier in the twenty-minute example, a twenty-minute headway on a fixed-route bus line would not necessarily, equate into a twenty-minute response time for paratransit.
Mr. HASTERT. That's assuming that sometimes there is a time lap from your residents to get to the point of pickup.
Mr. CLINE. Right.
Mr. HASTERT. What provision, in your study and in any subsequent studies you have had-I understand that private shuttle-type operations are also subject to this whether they are publicly funded or privately funded, such as hotel shuttles, rental car shuttles, amusement park shuttles, grocery store shuttles at some shopping centers.
Mr. TRILLING. That is correct as long as they are not what we would call demand responsive, and that they are over 15 seats.
Mr. HASTERT. So all those, then, have to have a lift or some type of wheel chair accessibility; is that right?
Mr. TRILLING. If they fall under that criteria; yes, sir.
Mr. HASTERT. How about senior citizen type of transportation? I am thinking, now, that I have a rather mixed district. I have a big rural area as well as a suburban area. In many of our senior citizen centers, those people have saved up to buy themselves a van so, out of those senior citizen centers, they can go shopping once a week or get taken to the hospital or the doctor. If they don't have wheel chair facilities, are they in violation of the law?
Mr. TRILLING. I do not believe, so, sir.
Mr. CLINE. Currently, the bill does not require that all vehicles be equipped with lifts. As Don had mentioned, first of all, there is a requirement that vehicles above 15 passengers would fall into that category.
Mr. HASTERT. Which many of these are.
Mr. CLINE. Right. But, for example, the mall shuttles and parking lot vans and hotel and airport shuttles do not have to have all of their vehicles lift-equipped as long as they can provide a service that, when viewed in its entirety over all of the service that is provided, is comparable.
So, for example, an airport shuttle could use a contracted liftequipped vehicle to serve the needs of the disabled.
Mr. HASTERT. Going back to the senior citizen situation, if they have a vehicle that is 15 passengers or above, do they have to fall under the law?
Mr. CLINE. Yes, I believe so.
Mr. HASTERT. So these people who can scrape up the $30,000 but would have to go an additional cost and may cancel their service, is there any other determination if that service if they can't afford to run it? It is cheaper for them to terminate and say, “Well, we are not going to do this anymore.” We see that happening in good Federal law all the time. All of a sudden, it is too expensive for small businesses to provide the service or comply.
Section 89 happens to be one of those things that we are dealing with right now. The people simply throw up their hands and say, “Well, we can't afford to do this anymore so, therefore, we are not going to do it. We will withdraw it from everybody."
Is that a consideration in the law? Mr. CLINE. To the best of my knowledge, it is not a specific consideration in the law. Whether that scenario would take place is hard to judge. Obviously, those are individual local decisions that have to be made on the importance of that service.
So, in terms of any conclusions
abled POPULLING. I docommodate thare the only
Mr. HASTERT. So it is a very good possibility that would happen? Mr. CLINE. I'm sure it is. Mr. HASTERT. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. MINETA. Thank you, Dennis. The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Clement. Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you. Mr. Mross, have there been any studies on the needs of the disabled for inter-city bus transportation and how will the current inter-city network of private lines serve that population?
Mr. TRILLING. There have not been any definitive studies that I know of. Are you talking about how they do it now, or how they will under the bill?
Mr. CLEMENT. Both.
Mr. TRILLING. How they will under the bill is sufficiently uncertain that that is why the whole idea of the study was established in the bill, because it is not clear what the patronage would be or where the concentrations would be-things of that nature.
So I know of no study yet that has been done that answers those questions.
Mr. CLEMENT. In your own assessment, how well is the rural disabled population served by the network of private bus lines?
Mr. TRILLING. I don't know if I can assess that. The bus companies have tried to accommodate those with disabilities, and the bus companies in many rural areas are the only source of transportation. But I would not want to assess how well they do. It is something the Department has not done officially.
Mr. CLEMENT. Have there been any complaints about the intercity bus services' failure to provide service to the disabled?
Mr. TRILLING. As I responded to Mr. Rahall, we will have to look into the records and find out to what degree there have been complaints. I am sure there have been some.
Mr. CLEMENT. But you are not really aware of many complaints?
Mr. TRILLING. No. I am sure it is a point of dissatisfaction and I am also sure that the inter-city bus industry is trying to do what they can to take care of it. They have had some imaginative ideas. But I could not go on record with an assessment or an evaluation.
Mr. CLEMENT. Would you support the full and equal service standard of Section 403(a) without the "every vehicle" requirement of Section 403(b)?
Mr. TRILLING. I would have to look at what they are, Congressman. In S. 933, Title IV is a telecommunications title which is not related to transportation. That is one of the reasons I am having trouble developing an answer.
Mr. CLEMENT. It is in the House bill.
Mr. TRILLING. I'm sorry. I do not have the House bill in front of me.
Mr. CLINE. We don't have a copy of the House bill. Mr. CLEMENT. For the record, if you would answer that question. Mr. TRILLING. Yes, sir. [Mr. Trilling's answer follows:] We support the provisions as modified in the Senate version, and as they appear in Section 304 of S. 933.
on the the Administrheel chair relation
Mr. CLEMENT. The Senate bill has a provision, Section 305, requiring the Office of Technology Assessment to undertake a study on the access needs of disabled individuals to over-the-road buses. Would the Administration support a similar provision in the House bill in lieu of the wheel chair requirement of Section 403(b) and then await the study's recommendations before deciding whether to mandate wheel chair lifts on inter-city over-the-road buses?
Mr. CLINE. In short, sir, the Administration is supporting the bill as passed by the Senate. Mr. CLEMENT. So that is not on the agenda at all, then. That will be all at this time. Mr. MINETA. Mr. Payne. Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I thank all of you gentlemen for being here and for the good work that I think you, the Administration and the Department have done, in crafting and implementing a law to protect and guarantee civil rights for Americans with disabilities. Certainly, it is legislation that I, very strongly, support.
I have not been here for all of the questioning, but the questions that we are hearing have to do with affordability and, particularly, situations that are relevant to a particular community, particular city or particular entity.
To that end, there is language that seems to be fairly broad in terms of suggesting that there are certain things that, if they represent an undue financial burden, the Department may allow the public entity, for instance, to limit its service to “a flexible numerical formula,” and that sort of thing.
In terms of the implementation of that, how do you see that kind of thing being accomplished? To what extent do you think communities will have the autonomy to come to you to present that information or how specifically will those guidelines be so that this will be mandated to that community?
Mr. CLINE. The Senate report language specifically refers to certain service criteria that can be used in determining what is a comparable level of service for paratransit. Within those criteria are things like eligibility, response time, restrictions or priorities based on trip purpose. Those sorts of things lend themselves, obviously, to local decision making, too.
Generally, the broad framework for the implementation would come from DOT, but the specific standards and implementation, obviously, would have to occur at the local level.
Mr. PAYNE. Let me ask you about a real situation in a community such as Alexandria, Virginia, for instance, that has a public transportation system. It also has a paratransit system that is in operation now that is very responsive and, from indications that I get, seems to get good marks, generally.
If there is a paratransit system that will do the same thing as the public transportation system, would there be consideration given to not providing for the lifts, say, for the public transportation or the fixed-route buses if that service could be equally well provided by the paratransit system? Is that a consideration?
Mr. CLINE. No, it is not. The Senate bill, in its current form, mandates that lifts be put on all fixed-route buses and that, in ad