Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 49 CFR Part 21, and 23 CFR Part 200, including related statutes and regulation, provide that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”. Any Federal-aid recipients , subrecipients and contractors must comply with Title VI, including reporting requirements. In this definition, the Department is a recipient of Federal-aid and municipalities and RPOs receiving federal transportation funds are subrecipients.
The concept of “environmental justice” was introduced in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 (23 United States Code 109(h)), and various presidential Executive Orders as well as federal agency policies. Environmental justice practices, in essence, reaffirm, extend and clarify the policy of Title VI to ensure nondiscrimination.
Per the United States Department of Transportation Order on Environmental Justice, a determination must be made as to whether transportation programs, policies, and activities will have an adverse impact on minority and low-income populations and whether that adverse impact will be disproportionately high. In so doing, mitigation and enhancement measures as well as other offsetting benefits to the affected minority and low-income populations, design, comparative impacts, and the relevant number of similar existing system elements in the non-minority and non-low income areas are taken into account.