December 20, 2022

Duckworth’s ASAP Act Paves Way for Illinoisans with Disabilities to Better Access Public Transit, Funding Announcement Applauded by Illinois Congressional Delegation

This historic, equity-centered announcement is supported by U.S. Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Marie Newman (D-IL-3), Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL-4), Mike Quigley (D-IL-5), Sean Casten (D-IL-6), Danny Davis (D-IL-7) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9)


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Marie Newman (D-IL-3), Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL-4), Mike Quigley (D-IL-5), Sean Casten (D-IL-6), Danny K. Davis (D-IL-7) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9) announced that several Illinois communities will soon benefit from significant transit support, specifically to eliminate barriers to public transit for Illinoisans with disabilities, thanks to Duckworth’s All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Metra will receive a total of $185 million in funding to help build ramps, install elevators and make other improvements to help ensure that the region’s public bus and rail systems are actually, finally usable for those with disabilities.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law recognizes a basic principle: as we work to repair and enhance our infrastructure—we must make sure that the upgrades benefit ALL Americans,” said Duckworth. “That is why I fought so hard to include the All Station Accessibility Program—or ASAP Act—in the historic bill.  Seeing these resources coming into Illinois just months after the Department of Transportation officially launched the Program makes me proud that my ASAP Act is already helping make Illinois a more inclusive place for our state’s disability community.”

“Building equitable public transportation starts by eliminating accessibility barriers for passengers with disabilities,” said Durbin. “These investments in our stations, buses, and trains will ensure people with disabilities can fully participate in their communities. I commend Senator Duckworth for championing this critical legislation and look forward to continuing to work together to bring federal dollars back to our state to promote more accessible transportation for all Illinoisans.”

“Thanks to Senator Duckworth’s ASAP Act provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Illinois will receive this necessary funding to improve accessibility to public transit,” said Casten. “Our buses, trains, and stations should be inclusive for all Illinoisans, regardless of disability status. I proudly voted to pass this provision along with others in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make our transit infrastructure smarter and safer.”

“Transit connects us to our families, our communities, our jobs, our schools and so much more. Every person deserves access to these essential services,” said Kelly. “I am proud to join Senator Duckworth to make these essential investments in our transit system and ensure that our buses and rail lines are accessible to all.”

“Last year, Senator Duckworth and I worked hard to introduce and include the All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide federal funding to help legacy rail transit and commuter rail systems upgrade stations to be inclusive and ADA compliant,” said Newman. “Today, our efforts have paid off with the exciting news that CTA and Metra will receive $185 million in ASAP grants to modernize multiple stations with new elevators, ramp upgrades, improved signage, and more to ensure people with disabilities and older Americans have equal access to our public transit systems. Every American, regardless of age or ability, deserves the freedom to be independent. That includes the ability to access public transit and move about freely without limitation. I am so proud of the work we did to remove barriers and make our transit systems work for all.”

“Millions of Illinoisans rely on public transportation to get them where they need to go, yet many accessibility barriers still exist for passengers with disabilities,” said Schakowsky. “Thanks to President Biden’s Infrastructure Law and Senator Duckworth’s steadfast leadership, over $180 million will go towards ensuring our trains and buses are equipped to handle passengers with disabilities. I look forward to continuing our work together to improve our public transit and make it safe and efficient for all.”

“People living with disabilities have the right to move around our city safely and freely. That’s why I’ve championed greater accessibility on Chicago's public transit throughout my career and coauthored the All Station Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act,” said García. “Thanks to the ASAP Act which was included in President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, resources will soon begin reaching local transit agencies in Chicago to ensure our public transportation systems are ADA compliant and truly inclusive.”

“If public transportation isn’t accessible, it isn’t practical,” said Quigley. “All Americans should have the ability to use a bus, train or metro to get where they need to go, and this investment will help make that goal a reality. Public transportation is already a huge part of our community in Chicago but this funding will take us one step closer to it being accessible to all Chicagoans, including those with disabilities. I am grateful to Senator Duckworth for her leadership on this issue, and her work to include this program in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

“Illinois Citizens are well represented by such a great legislative team led by Senators Durbin and Duckworth,” said Davis. “I am proud to be a part of the group and proud of our accomplishment.”

“This new funding is absolutely vital to our efforts to ensure that more rail stations will become accessible to everyone,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This is the first of several more grants CTA will be pursuing through this new federal funding program—which is the first of its kind in history and would not have been possible without the perseverance and leadership of Senator Duckworth.”

“Senator Duckworth has been a tireless advocate for improving the accessibility of both our nation’s transit and passenger rail infrastructure and we greatly appreciate her leadership in creating this vital grant program as a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director James Derwinski. “We are pleased that, with the support of this program, we will be able to provide accessible and equitable investments along Metra’s Electric District on Chicago’s southside. We greatly appreciate the support and assistance of Senator Duckworth, our entire Congressional delegation, and our partners at Chicago State University and the University of Chicago in securing these critical funding awards.”

According to recent Federal Transit Administration (FTA) data, nearly 20% of U.S. transit stations are still not fully accessible. As a result, Duckworth authored the All Stations Accessibility Program, which will provide $1.75 billion over the next five years. From today’s announcement, the CTA is expected to receive $118,480,000 and Metra is expected to receive a total of $66,600,000 from two projects.

Supported by Duckworth, Durbin, Garcia, Quigley, Casten, Kelly, Newman, Schakowsky and Davis and signed into law last year, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is already helping improve the lives of working Americans by making drinking water safer, reducing traffic congestion, allowing infrastructure projects to implement local hiring initiatives, protecting roadside responders and improving transit accessibility, among many other benefits for workers. The law will help Illinois and Illinois communities improve roads, bridges, highways, public transit, airports and more throughout the state to allow for more good-paying jobs, better accessibility and needed investments.