FTA awards operators $8.8 million to purchase lifts
The Federal Transit Administration has awarded $8.8 million to 97 motorcoach companies across the U.S. to retrofit buses with wheelchair lifts or to help offset the cost of lifts on new coaches.
Last year, the FTA awarded $20 million to 128 motorcoach companies to have lists installed on buses or to help defray the cost of lifts on new coaches. The amount granted a year ago was substantially higher than previous years because there’s a major deadline in 2012 for large line-run operators; they must have 100 percent of their fleet wheelchair accessible by Oct. 29.
The requirement applies to fixed-route operators having annual revenue of $8.6 million or more.
The amount awarded this year is more in line with previous years.
A total of 136 companies requested $40.9 million in lift grants, meaning 39 companies didn’t receive any money and most received less than they sought. Some of the money awarded can be used for training.
The wheelchair grant program has been around for a dozen years and has awarded tens of millions of dollars to operators to help them comply with federal accessibility regulations.
While 63 of the 97 grants were for less than $50,000 to pay for a single wheelchair lift, Greyhound Lines, which has a fleet of more than 1,200 coaches, was awarded $2.44 million to purchase roughly 70 lifts.
Over the years, Greyhound and other large operators have received the lion’s share of the wheelchair lift grant money because of the federal requirement that their fleets had to be 50 percent accessible in 2006 and must be 100 percent accessible later this year.
Operators in a total of 38 states received grant money.
For more information about the program, go to http://www.fta.dot.gov.