Federal Transit Administration Takes on Environmental Justice and Civil Rights
This fall, the Federal Transit Administration (a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation) issued proposed policy guidance will set the stage for how transit agencies and other transit service providers will meet their important civil rights and environmental justice obligations.
The significance of this critical step for historically disinvested communities cannot be overlooked.
In the past several years, equity advocates in Los Angeles, Minneapolis / St. Paul, and the San Francisco Bay Area have successfully leveraged civil rights provisions to push for investigations of transit decisions that could disadvantage low-income communities and communities of color.
Today, there are several worrisome trends resulting from our nation’s current course of transit investment:
- Almost 70% of jobs in the 100 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas cannot be accessed via a 90-minute, one-way transit trip.
- Over 700,000 households in the 100 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas that lack access to a vehicle, also have no public transportation service available.
- Despite current record levels of transit ridership, in the past year, nearly 80 percent of transit agencies across the country have cut service, raised fares, or both.
With an eye towards the future (and an additional $10 billion of transit funding set to be distributed in 2012) a fresh look at the FTA’s civil rights and environmental justice guidance could not be more timely. Last week, PolicyLink joined 30 organizations in providing input on the FTA’s civil rights and environmental justice guidance. PolicyLink also prepared comments for the FTA that were focused on public engagement, which you can read here.
We believe the FTA has an important opportunity to leverage its public transportation investments in ways that allow all Americans to participate and prosper. We hope that the FTA will work to quickly implement input from equity advocates who have been lifting up this important issue.
Did your organization submit comments on FTA’s proposed civil rights and environmental justice policy guidance? If so, please share the link with us and leave your comments below.
For information on how to join with the dozens of other organizations working to advance more equitable federal transportation policies in the U.S., please visit the website of the Equity Caucus at Transportation for America.