All Stations Accessibility Program

  • Author: Laurel Schwartz
  • Date: February 13, 2024

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, approximately 65% of public buses in the US were accessible. By 2020, 97% of buses were ADA accessible. But many fixed route transit systems still have inaccessible infrastructure that was grandfathered in when the ADA became law. Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is designed to help make transit more equitable.

In response to an initial request for proposals to fund station accessibility projects, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)  received $905 million in funding requests. They provided $686 million to fund 15 station accessibility projects in 9 states, their budgeted funding for both FY22 and FY23. Another round of funding for FY24 was just announced, $343 million, with grant applications due Jan. 30, 2024.

Eligible Applicants

The All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) was originally introduced by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who lost her legs while piloting a helicopter in Iraq. In an interview with CBS news in 2021, Sen. Duckworth, who uses a wheelchair for her own mobility, expressed frustration that she can’t ride the subway in New York or the L in Chicago without difficulty because of a lack of consistent elevator access.

“When I spoke with local transit authorities, [they would say] this has always been in our top three of things we want to do, but when we have limited resources and we have to choose, we’re always going to choose safety and newer train cars. Which makes sense. You can’t argue with that,” she told Mass Transit.

Now that ASAP is law,  the FTA has specified that the funding is exclusively designed to support updating “legacy rail fixed guideway public transportation systems with stations or facilities for passenger use that are not already accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.”

All states and local government authorities are eligible to apply, but applicants should keep in mind that the grant may not be used to upgrade facilities that are already ADA compliant.

Pittsburgh Regional Transit, for example, was awarded $28.4 million to make four stations on its light rail accessible to people with disabilities. The stations were all built before the ADA was passed in 1990.

““People with disabilities spend far more time and spend far more money just to go about their lives,” Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said at the announcement of the award. “Transit is designed to be the great connector, but only if you can physically get aboard is that actually possible.”

Project Selection Criteria

To qualify, projects must have local funding matches of at least 20% and fill a demonstratable need, such as serving a major interchange or addressing “an overall lack of accessible stations in a particular geographic area.”

Further, the FTA is encouraging applicants to submit projects that support historically disadvantaged communities, as part of the Justice40Initiative. The department is also encouraging applicants to partner with workforce development programs to execute their project.

The FTA plans to award an additional $700 million in ASAP grants in FY25 and FY26.

For more information, check out the ASAP site. Proposals are to be submitted on


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