New ADA Amendments Regarding Service Animals and Mobility Devices and the FTA

As many of you are aware, the new ADA Amendments and the resulting U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) final rules regarding service animals and mobility devices went into effect on March 15, 2011.  They included provisions relating to the distinction between wheelchairs and other powered mobility devices and limited the types of animals that are defined as service animals.  However, it is important to note that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) have issued no changes to their ADA regulations which cover transportation provided by both the private and public sector.

FTA clarifies that transit operators should not make any changes to their service animal policies or the manner in which they regard mobility devices as a result of the ADA Amendments and the DOJ regulations.  Changes to accommodate DOJ regulations could result in a grantee being out of compliance with the DOT ADA regulations.

FTA states that any amendments to the DOT ADA regulations would be announced through publication of rulemaking documents in the Federal Register with an effective date.  Until such documents are published, the DOT regulations remain unchanged.  For additional information, see:  http://www.fta.dot.gov/civilrights/civil_rights_2360.html.

Our thanks to Kim Johnson, Manager of the Transportation Services Section of the Michigan Department of Transportation for giving us the “heads up” on the discrepancy between the DOJ and FTA regulations during a recent training session in Michigan.

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SURTC is a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University