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Amtrak has brought 117 of 385 rail stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as of July 2023, but it would have to significantly increase its current pace to complete the remaining stations by its target completion date of fiscal-year 2029, the Amtrak Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced this week.
In a report issued Sept. 18, the OIG credits Amtrak for making progress toward achieving ADA compliance at rail stations where it has sole or shared responsibilities. But challenges that the OIG identified in earlier reports persist, the new report states.
Amtrak’s greatest challenge is coordinating with third parties at stations where the railroad has shared responsibilities, according to the OIG. Third parties include other stations owners such as state and local governments, as well as historic preservation offices, environmental regulators, utilities, labor unions and others whose property or legal interest may be affected by the proposed work, such as host railroads.
At most stations, Amtrak must seek approval from a mix of these third parties before beginning construction, the report notes.
Because the railroad has implemented the OIG's prior recommendations to accelerate the ADA improvements at stations, the office did not make new recommendations in this latest report.
"We appreciate the review and insights the OIG provided on the advancement of the ADA stations program and highlighting that we have already implemented the OIG’s previous recommendations. While third party approvals are challenging, we agree with the OIG observation that the [Amtrak] team is working to mitigate those challenges," Amtrak President Roger Harris said in a statement included with the report.