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Senate seeks to ease ADA curb cut burden.

In a move strongly supported by NLC, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and other key Senate leaders have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to give cities and towns an additional 5 to 10 years to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) curb ramp requirements. Under existing regulations, public entities were required to complete all necessary curb cuts by January 26, 1995.

A bi-partisan group of Senators, original co-sponsors of the ADA, made the request in a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno.

The extension of curb cut deadlines would help relieve cities and towns of the immediate and tremendous cost burdens associated with the installation of curb ramps and allow them time to focus on future efforts to successfully integrate individuals with disabilities into local communities.

An extension would support NLC ADA policy, which calls for "regulations and/or legislation which would reduce implementation costs by providing cities and towns with greater flexibility to target scarce resources in a manner that would permit local elected officials to meet the needs and priorities of the disability community within their city."

The Senators' letter requests "separate time periods for at least two classes or tiers of curb cuts, provided public entities have a written transition plan with specific dates for completing all curb cuts within the extended time period."

"Tier I curb cuts are ones that serve state and local government offices, transportation, places of public accommodation, other places of employment, other heavily traveled routes, and private homes of persons with disabilities, and should be completed within five years of the effective date. Tier II cuts serve residential and other non-commercial areas where pedestrian walkways exist, and a public entity should be given 10 years from the effective date to install the necessary curb ramps."

The letter continues, "It was our intent to carefully craft the ADA to include fair and balanced provisions and specific safeguards for state and local governments regarding costs. In this regard, we have heard that curb cuts are a unique, significant capital expense, and believe that our intent would be more properly fulfilled over a longer period of time."
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Title Annotation:Senate leaders ask the Department of Justice to grant cities an additional 5-10 years for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
Author:Tabin, Barrie
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:May 15, 1995
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