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Last Updated: 4/9/2010
Budget Issue: Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit implementation (April Finance Letter #9)
Program: Department of Transportation
Finding or Recommendation: Approve the request, but require a supplemental report be provided after the final settlement is approved.
Further Detail

The Department of Transportation (Caltrans) requests $3.6 million for three limited-term positions and contract resources to implement its ADA compliance program for 2010-11 and 2011-12. The department has preliminarily settled state and federal lawsuits for ADA violations. The terms of the settlement require Caltrans to perform various tasks related to identifying, prioritizing, and fixing Caltrans-owned facilities that are in violation of the ADA. The resources included in this request would provide staffing to develop and begin implementation of the department's new ADA compliance program, and contract resources to handle an increased number of complaints that the department expects under the new program.

In addition to this request, the 2010-11 budget includes funding to pay for attorney's fees related to the lawsuits. Funding to improve the department's ADA compliance efforts has also been approved in previous fiscal years. In light of these multiple budget requests, as well as additional funding that will likely be requested in future fiscal years, we recommend that the Legislature adopt language requiring Caltrans to report comprehensively on its new ADA program. Specifically, we recommend the following supplemental report language:

ADA Compliance Program Reporting. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) shall report annually for three years to the fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office, information about the department’s American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance program and efforts related to the settlement of lawsuits regarding violations of the act. The first report shall be provided no later than 12 months after the final settlement has been approved by the presiding court. Two subsequent reports shall be provided annually thereafter. The reports shall provide the following:

  • An overview of the department’s ADA compliance program, and how the program fulfills each of the requirements of the lawsuit settlement.
  • A description of recent changes made to the department’s ADA program that have been implemented due to requirements or recommendations from the ongoing implementation of the lawsuit settlement agreement.
  • The first report shall include total level of resources that the department has allocated to its ADA program for the preceding three fiscal years and the current year, including, (1) staff resources, (2) contract resources and, (3) capital outlay or other funds. The two subsequent reports shall include the current-year estimated and past-year actual level of these resources. All three reports shall include the total level of resources the department plans to allocate to the program in the budget year. Information should be broken down into major categories of work performed (such as program management, transition plan, complaints, and capital outlay). Approved and proposed budget changes should be referenced as applicable.
  • The first report shall include the number of ADA complaints received and investigated during the preceding three fiscal years, and the estimated number of complaints in the current year. The two subsequent reports shall include the current-year estimated and past-year actual numbers of complaints.
  • A summary of the capital outlay projects that have been completed, or are currently under development, to fix non-compliant facilities owned by the department, including the number of projects and their associated costs.
  • A summary of the capital outlay projects that are planned for future years in order to fix identified non-compliant facilities owned by the department, including the number of projects and their associated costs.