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Title 49

Displaying title 49, up to date as of 9/23/2021. Title 49 was last amended 9/13/2021.

Title 49

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Subpart A - General
§ 27.1 Purpose.

The purpose of this part is to carry out the intent of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) as amended, to the end that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

§ 27.3 Applicability.

(a) This part applies to each recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Department of Transportation and to each program or activity that receives such assistance.

(b) Design, construction, or alteration of buildings or other fixed facilities by public entities subject to part 37 of this title shall be in conformance with appendices B and D of 36 CFR part 1191, as modified by appendix A to part 37 of this title. All other entities subject to section 504 shall design, construct, or alter buildings, or other fixed facilities, in conformance with appendices B and D of 36 CFR part 1191, as modified by appendix A to part 37 of this title.

[44 FR 31468, May 31, 1979, as amended at 56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991; 68 FR 51390, Aug. 26, 2003; 80 FR 46513, Aug. 5, 2015]

§ 27.5 Definitions.

As used in this part:

Act means the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 93-112, as amended.

Applicant means one who submits an application, request, or plan to be approved by a Departmental official or by a primary recipient as a condition to eligibility for Federal financial assistance, and application means such an application, request, or plan.

Commercial service airport means an airport that is defined as a commercial service airport for purposes of the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program and that enplanes annually 2500 or more passengers and receives scheduled passenger service of aircraft.

Department means the Department of Transportation.

Discrimination means denying persons with a disability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Facility means all or any portion of buildings, structures, vehicles, equipment, roads, walks, parking lots, or other real or personal property or interest in such property.

Federal financial assistance means any grant, loan, contract (other than a procurement contract or a contract of insurance or guaranty), or any other arrangement by which the Department provides or otherwise makes available assistance in the form of:

(a) Funds;

(b) Services of Federal personnel; or

(c) Real or personal property or any interest in, or use of such property, including:

(1) Transfers or leases of such property for less than fair market value or for reduced consideration; and

(2) Proceeds from a subsequent transfer or lease of such property if the Federal share of its fair market value is not returned to the Federal Government.

Person with a disability means (1) any person who (a) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (b) has a record of such an impairment, or (c) is regarded as having such an impairment. (2) As used in this definition, the phrase:

(a) Physical or mental impairment means (i) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular, reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or (ii) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The term physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; cancer; heart disease; mental retardation; emotional illness; drug addiction; and alcoholism.

(b) Major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

(c) Has a record of such an impairment means has a history of, or has been classified, or misclassified, as having a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(d) Is regarded as having an impairment means:

(1) Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but that is treated by a recipient as constituting such a limitation;

(2) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activity only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such an impairment; or

(3) Has none of the impairments set forth in paragraph (1) of this definition, but is treated by a recipient as having such an impairment.

Head of Operating Administration means the head of an operating administration within the Department (U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and Research and Special Programs Administration) providing Federal financial assistance to the recipient.

Primary recipient means any recipient that is authorized or required to extend Federal financial assistance from the Department to another recipient.

Program or activity means all of the operations of any entity described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of this definition, any part of which is extended Federal financial assistance:

(1)

(i) A department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or of a local government; or

(ii) The entity of such State or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other State or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a State or local government;

(2)

(i) A college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education; or

(ii) A local educational agency (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801), system of vocational education, or other school system;

(3)

(i) An entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship -

(A) If assistance is extended to such corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship as a whole; or

(B) Which is principally engaged in the business of providing education, health care, housing, social services, or parks and recreation; or

(ii) The entire plant or other comparable, geographically separate facility to which Federal financial assistance is extended, in the case of any other corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship; or

(4) Any other entity which is established by two or more of the entities described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this definition.

Qualified person with a disability means:

(1) With respect to employment, a person with a disability who, with reasonable accommodation and within normal safety requirements, can perform the essential functions of the job in question, but the term does not include any individual who is an alcoholic or drug abuser whose current use of alcohol or drugs prevents such person from performing the duties of the job in question or whose employment, by reason of such current alcohol or drug abuse, would constitute a direct threat to property or the safety of others; and

(2) With respect to other services, a person with a disability who meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of such services.

Recipient means any State, territory, possession, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, or any political subdivision thereof, or instrumentality thereof, any public or private agency, institution, organization, or other entity, or any individual in any State, territory, possession, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, to whom Federal financial assistance from the Department is extended directly or through another recipient, including any successor, assignee, or transferee thereof, but such term does not include any ultimate beneficiary.

Secretary means the Secretary of Transportation.

Section 504 means section 504 of the Act.

Special service system means a transportation system specifically designed to serve the needs of persons who, by reason of disability, are physically unable to use bus systems designed for use by the general public. Special service is characterized by the use of vehicles smaller than a standard transit bus which are usable by persons with a disability, demand-responsive service, point of origin to point of destination service, and flexible routing and scheduling.

[44 FR 31468, May 31, 1979, as amended by Amdt. 1, 46 FR 37492, July 20, 1981; Amdt. 27-3, 51 FR 19017, May 23, 1986; 56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991; 61 FR 32354, June 24, 1996; 61 FR 56424, Nov. 1, 1996; 68 FR 51390, Aug. 26, 2003; 79 FR 21405, Apr. 16, 2014]

§ 27.7 Discrimination prohibited.

(a) General. No qualified person with a disability shall, solely by reason of his disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance administered by the Department of Transportation.

(b) Discriminatory actions prohibited.

(1) A recipient, in providing any aid, benefit, or service, may not, directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, on the basis of disability:

(i) Deny a qualified person with a disability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service;

(ii) Afford a qualified person with a disability an opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service that is not substantially equal to that afforded persons who are not disabled;

(iii) Provide a qualified person with a disability with an aid, benefit, or service that is not as effective in affording equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement as persons who are not disabled;

(iv) Provide different or separate aid, benefits, or services to persons with a disability or to any class of persons with a disability unless such action is necessary to provide qualified persons with a disability with aid, benefits or services that are as effective as those provided to persons who are not disabled;

(v) Aid or perpetuate discrimination against a qualified person with a disability by providing financial or other assistance to an agency, organization, or person that discriminates on the basis of disability in providing any aid, benefit, or service to beneficiaries of the recipient's program or activity;

(vi) Deny a qualified person with a disability the opportunity to participate in conferences, in planning or advising recipients, applicants or would-be applicants, or

(vii) Otherwise limit a qualified person with a disability in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving an aid, benefit, or service.

(2) For purposes of this part, aids, benefits, and services, to be equally effective, are not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement for persons with and without a disability, but must afford persons with a disability equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement, in the most integrated setting that is reasonably achievable.

(3) Even if separate or different aid, benefits, or services are available to persons with a disability, a recipient may not deny a qualified person with a disability the opportunity to participate in the programs or activities that are not separate or different.

(4) A recipient may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, utilize criteria or methods of administration:

(i) That have the effect of subjecting qualified persons with a disability to discrimination on the basis of disability,

(ii) That have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially reducing the likelihood that persons with a disability can benefit by the objectives of the recipient's program or activity, or

(iii) That yield or perpetuate discrimination against another recipient if both recipients are subject to common administrative control or are agencies of the same State.

(5) In determining the site or location of a facility, an applicant or a recipient may not make selections:

(i) That have the effect of excluding persons with a disability from, denying them the benefits of, or otherwise subjecting them to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, or

(ii) That have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing the accomplishment of the objectives of the program or activity with respect to persons with a disability.

(6) As used in this section, the aid benefit, or service provided under a program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance includes any aid, benefit, or service provided in or through a facility that has been constructed, expanded, altered, leased or rented, or otherwise acquired, in whole or in part, with Federal financial assistance.

(c) Communications. Recipients shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with their applicants, employees, and beneficiaries are available to persons with impaired vision and hearing.

(d) Aid, benefits, or services limited by Federal law. For aid, benefits, or services authorized by Federal statute or executive order that are designed especially for persons with a disability, or for a particular class of persons with a disability, the exclusion of persons without a disability or other classes of persons with a disability is not prohibited by this part.

(e) Reasonable accommodations. A recipient shall make reasonable accommodations in policies, practices, or procedures when such accommodations are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability unless the recipient can demonstrate that making the accommodations would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity or result in an undue financial and administrative burden. For the purposes of this section, the term reasonable accommodation shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the term “reasonable modifications” as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act title II regulations at 28 CFR 35.130(b)(7), and not as it is defined or interpreted for the purposes of employment discrimination under title I of the ADA (42 U.S.C. 12111-12112) and its implementing regulations at 29 CFR part 1630.

[44 FR 31468, May 31, 1979, as amended at 68 FR 51390, Aug. 26, 2003; 79 FR 21405, Apr. 16, 2014; 80 FR 13260, Mar. 13, 2015]

§ 27.9 Assurance required.

(a) General. Each application for Federal financial assistance to which this part applies, and each application to provide a facility, shall, as a condition to approval or extension of any Federal financial assistance pursuant to the application, contain, or be accompanied by, written assurance that the program or activity will be conducted or the facility operated in compliance with all the requirements imposed by or pursuant to this part. An applicant may incorporate these assurances by reference in subsequent applications to the Department.

(b) Future effect of assurances. Recipients of Federal financial assistance, and transferees of property obtained by a recipient with the participation of Federal financial assistance, are bound by the recipient's assurance under the following circumstances:

(1) When Federal financial assistance is provided in the form of a conveyance of real property or an interest in real property from the Department of Transportation to a recipient, the instrument of conveyance shall include a convenant running with the land binding the recipient and subsequent transferees to comply with the requirements of this part for so long as the property is used for the purpose for which the Federal financial assistance was provided or for a similar purpose.

(2) When Federal financial assistance is used by a recipient to purchase or improve real property, the assurance provided by the recipient shall obligate the recipient to comply with the requirements of this part and require any subsequent transferee of the property, who is using the property for the purpose for which the Federal financial assistance was provided, to agree in writing to comply with the requirements of this part. The obligations of the recipient and transferees under this part shall continue in effect for as long as the property is used for the purpose for which Federal financial assistance was provided or for a similar purpose.

(3) When Federal financial assistance is provided to the recipient in the form of, or is used by the recipient to obtain, personal property, the assurance provided by the recipient shall obligate the recipient to comply with the requirements of this part for the period it retains ownership or possession of the property or the property is used by a transferee for purposes directly related to the operations of the recipient.

(4) When Federal financial assistance is used by a recipient for purposes other than to obtain property, the assurance provided shall obligate the recipient to comply with the requirements of this part for the period during which the Federal financial assistance is extended to the program or activity.

[44 FR 31468, May 31, 1979, as amended at 68 FR 51390, Aug. 26, 2003]

§ 27.11 Remedial action, voluntary action and compliance planning.

(a) Remedial action.

(1) If the responsible Departmental official finds that a qualified person with a disability has been excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity in violation of this part, the recipient shall take such remedial action as the responsible Departmental official deems necessary to overcome the effects of the violation.

(2) Where a recipient is found to have violated this part, and where another recipient exercises control over the recipient that has violated this part, the responsible Departmental official, where appropriate, may require either or both recipients to take remedial action.

(3) The responsible Departmental official may, where necessary to overcome the effects of a violation of this part, require a recipient to take remedial action:

(i) With respect to persons with a disability who are no longer participants in the recipient's program or activity but who were participants in the program or activity when such discrimination occurred, and

(ii) With respect to persons with a disability who would have been participants in the program or activity had the discrimination not occurred.

(b) Voluntary action. A recipient may take steps, in addition to any action that is required by this part, to assure the full participation in the recipient's program or activity by qualified persons with a disability.

(c) Compliance planning.

(1) A recipient shall, within 90 days from the effective date of this part, designate and forward to the head of any operating administration providing financial assistance, with a copy to the responsible Departmental official the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the persons responsible for evaluating the recipient's compliance with this part.

(2) A recipient shall, within 180 days from the effective date of this part, after consultation at each step in paragraphs (c)(2) (i)-(iii) of this section with interested persons, including persons with a disability and organizations representing persons with a disability:

(i) Evaluate its current policies and practices for implementing these regulations, and notify the head of the operating administration of the completion of this evaluation;

(ii) Identify shortcomings in compliance and describe the methods used to remedy them;

(iii) Begin to modify, with official approval of recipient's management, any policies or practices that do not meet the requirements of this part according to a schedule or sequence that includes milestones or measures of achievement. These modifications shall be completed within one year from the effective date of this part;

(iv) Take appropriate remedial steps to eliminate the effects of any discrimination that resulted from previous policies and practices; and

(v) Establish a system for periodically reviewing and updating the evaluation.

(3) A recipient shall, for at least three years following completion of the evaluation required under paragraph (c)(2) of this section, maintain on file, make available for public inspection, and furnish upon request to the head of the operating administration:

(i) A list of the interested persons consulted;

(ii) A description of areas examined and any problems indentified; and

(iii) A description of any modifications made and of any remedial steps taken.

[44 FR 31468, May 31, 1979, as amended at 68 FR 51390, Aug. 26, 2003; 79 FR 21405, Apr. 16, 2014]

§ 27.13 Designation of responsible employee and adoption of complaint procedures.

(a) Designation of responsible employee. Each recipient shall designate at least one person to coordinate its efforts to comply with this part.

(b) Adoption of complaint procedures. A recipient shall adopt procedures that incorporate appropriate due process standards and provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by this part and 49 CFR parts 37, 38, and 39. The procedures shall meet the following requirements:

(1) The process for filing a complaint, including the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the employee designated under paragraph (a) of this section, must be sufficiently advertised to the public, such as on the recipient's Web site;

(2) The procedures must be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;

(3) The recipient must promptly communicate its response to the complaint allegations, including its reasons for the response, to the complainant by a means that will result in documentation of the response.

[80 FR 13260, Mar. 13, 2015]

§ 27.15 Notice.

(a) A recipient shall take appropriate initial and continuing steps to notify participants, beneficiaries, applicants, and employees, including those with impaired vision or hearing, and unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with the recipient, that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability. The notification shall state, where appropriate, that the recipient does not discriminate in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. The notification shall also include an identification of the responsible employee designated pursuant to § 27.13(a). A recipient shall make the initial notification required by this section within 90 days of the effective date of this part. Methods of initial and continuing notification may include the posting of notices, publication in newspapers and magazines, placement of notices in recipients' publications and distribution of memoranda or other written communications.

(b) If a recipient publishes or uses recruitment materials or publications containing general information that it makes available to participants, beneficiaries, applicants, or employees, it shall include in those materials or publications a statement of the policy described in paragraph (a) of this section. A recipient may meet the requirement of this paragraph either by including appropriate inserts in existing materials and publications or by revising and reprinting the materials and publications. In either case, the addition or revision must be specially noted.

§ 27.17 Effect of State or local law.

The obligation to comply with this part is not obviated or affected by any State or local law.

§ 27.19 Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and FTA policy.

(a) Recipients subject to this part (whether public or private entities as defined in 49 CFR part 37) shall comply with all applicable requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101-12213) including the Department's ADA regulations (49 CFR parts 37 and 38), the regulations of the Department of Justice implementing titles II and III of the ADA (28 CFR parts 35 and 36), and the regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) implementing title I of the ADA (29 CFR part 1630). Compliance with the EEOC title I regulations is required as a condition of compliance with section 504 for DOT recipients even for organizations which, because they have fewer than 25 or 15 employees, would not be subject to the EEOC regulation in its own right. Compliance with all these regulations is a condition of receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Transportation. Any recipient not in compliance with this requirement shall be subject to enforcement action under subpart C of this part.

(b) Consistent with FTA policy, any recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Federal Transit Administration whose solicitation was made before August 26, 1990, and is for one or more inaccessible vehicles, shall provide written notice to the Secretary (e.g., in the case of a solicitation made in the past under which the recipient can order additional new buses after the effective date of this section). The Secretary shall review each case individually, and determine whether the Department will continue to participate in the Federal grant, consistent with the provisions in the grant agreement between the Department and the recipient.

[55 FR 40763, Oct. 4, 1990, as amended at 56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991; 61 FR 32354, June 24, 1996; 79 FR 21405, Apr. 16, 2014]