Administration Rolled Back Protections For Disabled Travelers At Urging Of Airline Industry
Veterans Come To Washington To Lobby Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Late yesterday, Democracy Forward filed a petition for a writ of mandamus on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) in their case against the Department of Transportation (DOT) for unlawfully rolling back a rule requiring airlines to track and report data on lost and damaged wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
As PVA challenges the Administration in federal court, its members are coming to Washington next week to educate Congress on a wide range of issues including the need for improved access for people with disabilities in air travel.
“This is a broken promise to America’s veterans,” said Paralyzed Veterans of America National President David Zurfluh. “Rolling back this rule was a major setback for disabled passengers and the veterans we represent. Wheelchairs are an essential part of many people’s ability to travel independently.”
DOT originally published the rule in November 2016, following a five-year rulemaking process that included input from air travelers, consumer and disability advocacy groups, and airlines. The rule’s reporting requirement for airlines had been scheduled to take effect this past January. In March 2017, DOT abruptly delayed the rule’s implementation date, without providing the public any notice or opportunity to comment, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. DOT claimed the delay was necessary due to implementation “challenges” faced by the airline industry. However, the only evidence of these challenges DOT presented was a single brief email the agency received from airline industry lobbyists.
The writ was filed on March 1st, 2018 in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, and seeks to return the case to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for an adjudication of the merits.
For information on PVA’s plans to come to Washington, please contact Lani Poblete at [email protected].
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.