# 192 DJ 202-012 II-1.2000 II-1.3000 II-5.3000 II-6.


April 25, 1996

Ms. Crystal Beutler Paralegal Pacific Telesis Legal Group 525 B Street, Suite 900 San Diego, California 92101 Dear Ms. Beutler: I am responding to your inquiry of March 14, 1996, on behalf of Pacific Bell regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to the obligations of a telephone service provider when it installs telephone lines and facilities on or under public streets. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that have rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA's requirements. It does not, however, constitute a legal interpretation or advice, and it is not binding on the Department. Your letter states that municipal governments in California are requiring Pacific Bell to install curb ramps whenever Pacific Bell performs construction work in the public streets. Pacific Bell objects to this requirement, asserting that it should not be required to install these curb ramps because Pacific Bell is not a public entity subject to title II of the ADA. You have asked the Department to clarify Pacific Bell's obligations under title II. Title II of the ADA provides that

[N]o qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity. 42 U.S.C. 12132. State and local governments and any departments, agencies, or instrumentalities of State and local governments are public entities subject to title II. Under these definitions, it is clear that only public entities and individuals acting on behalf of public entities have an obligation to comply with title II. A private corporation that operates pursuant to a franchise or license issued by a State or local government usually would not be considered to be a public entity subject to title II. However, the fact that Pacific Bell is not directly subject to title II does not mean that municipal governments may not require Pacific Bell to construct curb ramps when its construction projects involve alterations to public streets and sidewalks. The ADA recognizes that public entities employ many different methods of operating their programs. Therefore, the Department's regulations do not attempt to limit the types of arrangements that municipal governments may utilize to ensure that they meet their obligation to comply with title II. Municipal governments may exercise the full range of authority permitted to them by State law when they are developing their compliance plans. Therefore, nothing in the ADA regulations would prohibit California municipalities from requiring Pacific Bell to install curb ramps when it undertakes construction projects. I hope that this information assists you to understand the requirements of the ADA. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Disability Rights Section