MTA Ignoring Federal Law to Protect Disabled Riders: Lawsuit

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    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has failed to spend a federally mandated 20-percent of of station rehabilitation budgets on improvements like elevators and ramps to assist disabled people seeking to ride subways and buses, according to a class-action lawsuit being filed today.

    The suit, being filed in federal court in Manhattan by the United Spinal Association and the Disability Rights Advocates, accuses the MTA of discriminating against disabled people by not doing everything required by federal law  to make subways wheelchair accessible.

    The federal law mandates buses and "key" rail stations be accessible to wheelchair users.  The MTA bus is in the early stages of a $20 million overhaul to the Dyckman St. station on the No. 1 line in northern Manhattan, but it hasn't allocated any funds to making it handicapped accessible, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the lawsuit alleges.

    "Without access to the subway, the MTA makes travel next to impossible for New Yorkers with physical disabilities and prevents them from getting to work or seeking employment," James Weismann, senior vice president of the United Spinal Association, told the New York Daily News.

    NYC Transit doesn't comment on pending litigation, spokesman Charles Seaton told the Daily News.