(Title VI and Environmental Justice)
Planning must be done with the involvement, and for the benefit, of all the region’s residents. SJTPO is guided by federal Title VI and Environmental Justice mandates, and the Organization strives to meet these mandates, while creating an overall transparent, inclusive planning process. As the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem Counties, SJTPO is committed to making Title VI and environmental justice a part of its planning process, integrated in all programs and plans, and a guide for public participation efforts.
Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act states that “no person in the United States, shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
SJTPO, as the MPO for Southern New Jersey, serves as the primary forum where the New Jersey Department of Transportation, transit providers, local agencies, and the public work together to develop local transportation plans and programs that address the region’s needs. To meet the requirements of Title VI, the Organization must:
- Enhance its analytical capabilities to ensure that the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) comply with Title VI;
- Identify residential, employment, and transportation patterns of low-income and minority populations so that their needs may be identified and addressed, and the benefits and burdens of transportation can be fairly distributed; and
- Evaluate and, where necessary, improve the public involvement process to eliminate barriers and engage minority, disabled, elderly, and low-income populations in regional decision-making.
Title VI Statement
SJTPO fully complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice, and related nondiscrimination statutes and regulations in all programs and activities. SJTPO’s website, www.SJTPO.org, may be translated into multiple languages, using the translation tool at the top of each webpage. Publications and other public documents can be made available in alternative languages and formats, if requested. Translation requests may be submitted through a form or emailed to TitleVI@sjtpo.org. SJTPO public meetings are always held in ADA-accessible facilities, and in transit-accessible locations, when possible. Auxiliary services can be provided to individuals who submit a request at least three business days prior to a public meeting. Requests will be accommodated to the greatest extent possible. Any person who believes he/she been aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice by SJTPO under Title VI has a right to file a formal complaint. Any such complaint may be in writing and filed with SJTPO and/or the appropriate state or federal agency within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory occurrence. For more information on SJTPO’s Title VI program, please call (856) 794-1941, or email TitleVI@sjtpo.org. The Title VI Complaint Form is available, here. The Title VI Assurances are available, here.
Title VI Complaint Procedure
The SJTPO Title VI Complaint Procedure is written to specify the process employed by SJTPO to investigate complaints, while ensuring due process for Complainants and respondents. The process does not preclude SJTPO from attempting to informally resolve complaints. This procedure applies to all external complaints relating to any program or activity administered by SJTPO and/or its subrecipients, consultants, and contractors, filed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (including its DBE and Equal Employment Opportunity components), as well as other related laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, disability, sex, age, or national origin. Additional statutes include, but are not limited to, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and the ADA of 1990. These procedures are part of an administrative process that does not provide for remedies that include punitive damages or compensatory remuneration for the Complainant. Intimidation or retaliation of any kind is prohibited by law.
An individual, or his or her representative, who believes that he or she has been subject to discrimination or retaliation prohibited by Title VI and other nondiscrimination provisions, has a right to file a complaint. Complaints need to be filed within 180 calendar days of the alleged occurrence, when the alleged discrimination became known to the Complainant, or when there has been a continuing course of conduct, the date on which the conduct was discontinued or the latest instance of the conduct.
Complaints shall be in writing and signed by the Complainant or the Complainant’s representative. If complaints are received by telephone or in person, an SJTPO employee or other authorized representative shall formally interview the person to provide the basis for the written complaint. If necessary, an authorized person will assist the Complainant in writing the complaint. The complaint form can be made available in alternative languages or formats, if requested. Please call (856) 794-1941 for more information.
Generally, the written complaint should include the following information:
- name, address, telephone number, and e-mail of the Complainant;
- basis of the complaint, (e.g. race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, retaliation);
- date(s) on which the alleged discrimination occurred; and agency or agencies where the discrimination(s) occurred;
- name(s) and position(s) of the person(s) who discriminated against the Complainant;
- a detailed description of the circumstances of the incident that led the Complainant to believe discrimination occurred;
- names, addresses, and phone numbers of people who may have knowledge of the alleged incident or are perceived as parties in the complained-of
As an investigation moves forward, additional information may be required. Although this process does not preclude SJTPO from attempting to informally resolve complaints, the decision to resolve informally always rests with the Complainant, who may withdraw from the informal process at any time.
If a complaint is filed against SJTPO, the Organization will acknowledge receipt of the complaint by notifying the Complainant and immediately transmitting the complaint to the proper state and federal agency (e.g. Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, New Jersey Department of Transportation) for investigation and disposition pursuant to that agency’s Title VI complaint procedure. Complaints against SJTPO may also be sent directly to a federal agency. If a complaint is filed with an agency that does not have jurisdiction over the particular reason for discrimination, the complaint will be forwarded to an agency that does.
Complaints against SJTPO subrecipients, consultants, and contractors will be investigated directly by the Organization as follows:
- Within 10 days, the designated SJTPO Title VI coordinator will acknowledge receipt of the complaint to the Complainant, and notify the appropriate state and/or federal agency that a Title VI complaint has been received by the Organization;
- Within 60 days, an SJTPO employee will conduct and complete an investigation and, based on the information obtained, will render a recommendation for action in a report of findings to the SJTPO Executive Director. This report will include the nature of the complaint, remedy sought, and a summary of the investigative findings and activities. The complaint should be resolved by informal means, whenever possible. Such informal attempts and their results will be summarized in the report findings;
- Within 90 days of receipt of the complaint, an SJTPO employee will notify the Complainant in writing of the final decision reached, including the proposed disposition of the matter. The notification will advise the Complainant of his/her appeal rights with state and federal agencies, if he/she is dissatisfied with the final decision rendered by SJTPO.
The SJTPO will maintain a log of all complaints received by the Organization.
Complainant may submit complaints against SJTPO, to the SJTPO, or may submit directly to the following federal agencies:
Civil Rights Specialist
Federal Highway Administration – New Jersey Division
840 Bear Tavern Road, Suite 202 West Trenton, NJ 08628
Title VI Manager
New Jersey Department of Transportation
Division of Civil Rights/Affirmative Action
P.O. Box 600, 1035 Parkway Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
Title VI Program Coordinator
Federal Transit Administration
Office of Civil Rights
East Building, 5th Floor – TCR, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20590
Title VI Program Coordinator
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Civil Rights
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE 8th Floor, E81-314, Washington, DC 20590
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs Office for Civil Rights
810 7th Street, NW Washington, DC 20531
The federal government defines environmental justice as, “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs, and policies.
Environmental Justice at SJTPO
Background on and a full definition of the Environmental Justice (EJ) analysis methodology, as well as an overview and highlights of SJTPO EJ activities are included in the Environmental Justice Report, a report updated by SJTPO in 2015. The report is available as PDF, here and its appendices are available as a PDF, here.