It is expected that the city of Washington will be the second municipality in the county to develop a transition plan to be compliant with federal disability mandates.
John Nilges, director of public services, said the deadline to develop the plan is May 2018 in order for the city to establish a American with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan to better secure Surface Transportation Program (STP) grants.
Earlier this month, the city entered into an agreement with HDR Engineering Inc. for engineering design services for the 2018 ADA Transition Plan. The contract with HDR totals $95,776.
Nilges Monday told the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee that $18,000 of the cost will be funded through an $8,000 Traffic Engineering Assistance Program (TEAP) grant through the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and a $10,000 grant provided by Franklin County through the transportation sales tax. Each municipality that is a member of the Franklin County Transportation Committee has been awarded those funds earmarked for ADA transition plans.
Once those grant funds are applied, the city will be responsible for the remaining $77,776 to fund the plan.
Nilges explained that the city of Berger already has completed its ADA transition plan, which includes the installation of a $2,500 wheelchair ramp to its only public facility, city hall.
The agreement with HDR Engineering includes a geographic information system (GIS) component which will allow the city to better inventory streets and sidewalks.
“That benchmark will allow us to expand our GIS,” Nilges said.
HDR Engineering also will provide ADA compliance training to Washington city staff.
The transportation grants are administered through the East-West Gateway Council of Government (EWGW) and funded through MoDOT and the federal government. Funding is in jeopardy if the city does not develop a plan before the next round of funding applications this year.
Now that plans are underway, the city is poised to receive better marks for a project application.
“I feel like this positions the city ahead of towns in Franklin County and on par with St. Louis,” he said.
Nilges added that the overall cost of projects funded by STP grants will increase because a roadway that would be proposed to be improved must also have ADA-compliant sidewalks and ramps.
Under the ADA approved in 1990, public entities with more than 50 employees are required to have all facilities ADA compliant.
Only a handful of cities in the St. Louis area have a transition plan in place.
EWGW utilizes a point system to recommend funding for STP grants.
It is anticipated that an ADA transition plan will weigh heavily on the overall score. Some entities may not be able to even apply for STP funding without a plan in place, which is a policy some states have implemented.
STP funds are federal grants used to improve the conditions and performance on public roads, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and transit capital projects.