Connecticut House Delegation Introduces Resolution to Improve Physical Access to Federally-Funded Buildings
July 26, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Today, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) introduced a resolution that would recognize the need to improve physical access to a number of federally-funded facilities to all people, especially those with disabilities. Esty introduced the measure with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Congressman John Larson (CT-1), Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2), and Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4). Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) and Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-2) also co-sponsored the resolution.
Esty was inspired to introduce the resolution after hearing from the Citizens Coalition for Equal Access, a group of her constituents who shared their stories about how a lack of access for disabled individuals to federal facilities, such as United States Post Offices, prevented them from utilizing vital facilities in their communities. Although the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 both provide legal protections for individuals with physical disabilities, neither law requires automatic doors be installed at federal facilities.
“Almost 20 percent of the civilian population in the United States lives with a disability, and more than 3.5 million veterans receive service-related disability benefits. For the millions of Americans living with a disability, seemingly simple tasks such as going to the Post Office can be incredibly difficult,” the Connecticut House delegation said. “For many Americans with disabilities, having access to public buildings in their communities provides not only access to important taxpayer-funded services, but also supports self-sufficiency and dignity. That is why we introduced this resolution, which reaffirms Congress’ support for the Americans with Disabilities Act and calls on Congress that we work to ensure equal access for all citizens.”
“The example of new sidewalks in Farmington Center, which barely meet ADA standards and do not take into account advances in technology and the development of larger motorized scooters and wheelchairs, is an obvious example of inadequate accessibility. Use of the Us Access Board Guidelines for Public Rights of Way would have improved accessibility and would have prevented the brand new sidewalk from having inadequate access in four different places,” Ruth Grobe, Secretary of the Citizens Coalition for Equal Access, said.
Esty’s resolution would:
- Recognize the immense hardships that people with disabilities in the United States must overcome every day;
- Reaffirm Congress’ support of the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- Make Congress pledge to make Universal/Inclusive Design a guiding principle for all infrastructure bills and projects and will continue working to identify and remove the barriers that prevent all people of the United States from having equal access to the services provided by the Federal Government.
According to the 2010 census report, there are more than 38 million people living in the United States with who reported living with a severe disability. Esty serves on the Committee of Veterans Affairs and is the Ranking Member on the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs subcommittee.