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Justice Department Signs Agreements in Texas and Georgia to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities
July 24, 2012
The Justice Department today announced agreements with Wills Point, Texas, and Randolph County, Georgia, to improve access to all aspects of civic life for individuals with disabilities. The agreements were reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The department has now reached 199 agreements under the PCA initiative.
“This week marks the 22nd anniversary of the passage of the ADA as the Justice Department continues to pursue nationwide compliance with this great civil rights law through its vigilant enforcement efforts,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Through Project Civic Access the Justice Department has worked with large metropolitan areas with populations in the millions as well as small rural communities with residents numbering in the thousands in order to ensure that courthouses, parks, community centers, museums, libraries and all other state and local government buildings, programs, services and activities in these communities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. I commend the officials in Wills Point and Randolph County for making this commitment to provide equal access to their residents and visitors with disabilities.”
PCA was initiated to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life, a fundamental part of American society. As part of the PCA initiative, Justice Department investigators, attorneys and architects survey state and local government facilities, services and programs in communities across the country to identify the modifications needed for compliance with ADA requirements.
The agreements are tailored to address the steps each community must take to come into compliance with the ADA. PCA agreements typically include requirements to make physical modifications to public facilities so that, among other elements, parking, routes into buildings, entrances, assembly areas, restrooms, service counters and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities. Other common provisions address effective communication (e.g. telephone communications), grievance procedures, polling places, emergency management procedures and policies, sidewalks, domestic violence programs, and ensuring that an entity’s official website and other web-based services are accessible to persons with disabilities.
According to census data, 23.8 percent of residents in Wills Point and 27.3 percent of residents in Randolph County have a disability.
Today’s agreements were reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments. The agreement with Wills Point requires most actions to be completed within three years. For the required accessibility modifications to sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, transportation stops and curb ramps, the city will work with the disability community to prioritize and complete these modifications within five years. The Randolph County agreement will remain in effect for three years. The department will actively monitor compliance with the agreements until it has confirmed that all required actions have been completed.
People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreements, the PCA initiative or the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments can access the ADA website at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY).
The agreement with Wills Point is available at www.ada.gov/wills-point-pca/wills-point-sa.htm, and a fact sheet on the agreement is available at www.ada.gov/wills-point-pca/wills-point-sa-fact_sheet.htm. The agreement with Randolph County is available at www.ada.gov/randolph-co-pca/randolph-co-sa.htm, and a fact sheet on the agreement is available at www.ada.gov/randolph-co-pca/randolph-co-fact_sheet.htm.
News source: U.S. Justice Department (Press Release)