BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – After the court ruled in favor of two handicapped men who filed a lawsuit against CATS for not having the right accommodations for their needs, the transportation system launched an ADA Program and broke ground for handicap-accessible bus stops in the Greater Baton Rouge Area.

On Wednesday, members of the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) turned the soil on a decades-long project to revamp 1,500 bus stops across the capital region.

“We’ll see these stops being installed with the best pads that would give our customers more accessibility. Those who may be wheelchair-bound and have other mobility difficulties,” said Interim CEO Theo Richards.

CATS must hire an ADA coordinator and document all stops to determine which ones are already compliant and which ones can reasonably be brought up to ADA standards.

“So being in compliance also means that having our bus stops be accessible for those same wheelchairs. So what we’re doing over the next decade will be replacing old stops that aren’t ADA accessible. Some that you’ve seen throughout the community may not fit well for our individuals that need to use wheelchairs” said Richards.

The company is expected to complete 10% of the bus stops each year, over the next 10 years. Starting with the most at-need neighborhoods.

Richards said CATS received funding through a milage and other federal grants and resources.

Officials with CATS say this is a promise to the community to create an inclusive and equitable environment for everyone.

Richards also shared the significance of today’s groundbreaking location. One of the guys named in the lawsuit, Joshua Scurria, lives in this neighborhood. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the ceremony in person.

Officials say the project will start in January.