The RTA released a new Social Equity and Environmental Justice Policy Manual last week. On Wednesday, April 10th, the RTA will hold a public meeting before adopting the policy manual that establishes a public engagement process while also considering the social equity impacts of the important decisions the RTA makes.
We’ve read the manual cover to cover and wanted to share our thoughts, concerns and recommendations for improving the manual with you. First things first, let’s start with the important details.
The RTA’s Title VI and Environmental Justice Policy Manual was established to ensure that the social equity and environmental impacts of major bus and streetcar service changes under consideration by the agency are fully understood and to provide the public with more opportunities to get involved in transportation decision-making.
All transit agencies must adopt Title VI and environmental justice guidelines due to new requirements put in place by the United States Federal Transit Administration.
You can find out more here:
The policy manual establishes a new public engagement process on changes to the RTA service with the goal of reducing negative impacts to low-income and minority populations. This is the first time the RTA has established a formal policy on public engagement.
According to the RTA, the policy manual seeks to:
The RTA will be required to hold public meetings and conduct new social equity and environmental justice analyses any time the agency proposes a major service changes impacting minority transit routes.
The RTA defines a major service change as:
While the RTA’s plan is a step in the right direct, Ride New Orleans would like to see increased rider representation, and transparency in decision making by the RTA board and Veolia. Ride will submit the following comments to the RTA as they consider adoption of this policy. To see our full list of recommendations, click here.