§ 39-18-24. John J. MacDonald, Jr. Transportation Initiative.
(a) The Rhode Island public transit authority is authorized and directed, in consultation with the division of public utilities and carriers and the governor's commission on disabilities, to develop the "John J. MacDonald, Jr. Transportation Initiative" for a statewide federally funded "New Freedom Program" to reduce barriers to transportation services and expand the transportation mobility options available to people with disabilities that need wheelchair accessible transportation beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, by September 30, 2010. The goal is to provide on demand wheelchair accessible taxicab service throughout the state, and especially at T.F. Green state airport and the train stations.
(b) The administrator of the division of public utilities and carriers is authorized and directed to issue a regional wheelchair taxicab certificate after a hearing, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 42-35, the administrative procedures act, to any qualified applicant therefore, authorizing the whole or any part of the operations covered by the application, if it is found that the applicant is fit, willing, and able to properly perform the service proposed and to conform to the provisions of chapter 39-14, and the requirements, orders, rules, and regulations of the administrator thereunder, and that the proposed service, to the extent to be authorized by the certificate, is or will be required by the present or future public convenience and necessity; otherwise the application shall be denied.
(c) The Rhode Island public transit authority is authorized and directed:
(1) To adopt rules and regulations for the implementation of the John J. MacDonald, Jr. transportation initiative; and
(2) Purchase up to (2) wheelchair accessible taxicabs for each regional wheelchair taxicab or public motor vehicle certificate holder, utilizing New Freedom Safe Accountable Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act (23 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.), a legacy for users funds for eighty percent (80%) of the cost. Said program or purchases thereunder shall be funded by federal grants and private funds only and shall not have a negative financial impact on the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's operating budget. The operators of the wheelchair accessible taxicabs shall be responsible for the twenty percent (20%) nonfederal match for purchase of the vehicles.
(d) The operators of the certified wheelchair accessible taxicabs or public motor vehicles, and not the Rhode Island public transit authority, shall be responsible for all operating and maintenance costs of the wheelchair accessible taxicabs or public motor vehicles.
(e) The Rhode Island public transit authority and the division of public utilities and carriers is authorized and directed to begin implementation of the "John J. MacDonald, Jr. Transportation Initiative" on or before January 1, 2011.
(P.L. 2010, ch. 201, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 210, § 1.)