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June 6, 2024

ICYMI: Signed! New Law Will Improve Airport Accessibility for Coloradans with Disabilities

DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis yesterday signed legislation into law administratively to improve accessibility at Colorado’s airports by increasing the number of accessible restrooms and walkways, including the voices of Coloradans with disabilities when redesigning large hub airports, and requiring reporting for non-compliance.

“Basic access is safety for community living with a disability and for far too long air travel has been inaccessible, unsafe, and even deadly,” said Rep David Ortiz, D-Centennial. “From broken wheelchairs to inaccessible bathrooms we face barriers that negatively impact our health and economic opportunities. This law is a start to hold large hub airports, like DEN, accountable and make them a model of access for the entire nation to follow.”

“The federal bipartisan infrastructure law has granted historic funding to improve airport infrastructure, and our law is a great start in ensuring this funding will help meet the needs of the disability community,” said Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “The requests that the disability community has made to our airports are not unreasonable - they are essential for the health and safety of our fellow Coloradans. This new law helps hold airports accountable for providing Coloradans with disabilities the rights guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that Coloradans with disabilities have dignity in air travel.”

HB24-1452 requires large hub airports to ensure accessibility for travelers living with disabilities, as well as establish specific duties and deadlines for compliance. The law requires large hub airports in Colorado to:

  • Establish an advisory committee composed of people with various disabilities to provide input during airport renovations to ensure basic access and equity in air travel;

  • Consult with the disability community and advisory committee during the construction of walkways and other airport facilities;

  • Incorporate wayfinding technology for blind or visually-impaired travelers;

  • Create, maintain, and update a dashboard to report and track basic access shortcomings and violations during the travel process, including a public inquiry form that allows an individual to directly report accessibility issues;

  • Develop and provide comprehensive training programs for direct airport staff on proper handling of equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, medical equipment, and adaptive sports equipment;

  • Provide at least one accessible public restroom per terminal, in addition to companion care changing tables;

  • Use elevators to transport power wheelchairs from the tarmac to the jetway to reduce the likelihood of damaging them.

From complex terminal layouts to long distances between gates, passengers with disabilities face infrastructure, information, and customer service barriers at airports throughout the United States.

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