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Equity and Environmental Justice Important Considerations for Future Transportation Projects

Communications and Public Affairs: 207-7234
Published on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Equity and Environmental Justice Important Considerations for Future Transportation Projects

Councilwoman Sandoval Supports AAMPO’s Updated Scoring for Call for Projects

CONTACT: Matteo Treviño, 210-323-2835
matteo.trevino@sanantonio.gov

 

SAN ANTONIO (September 29, 2020) — The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) unanimously approved the October 1, 2020 Call for Projects. This year’s Call for Projects introduces Environmental Justice and Equity into scoring criteria for the first time in the history of the agency. Councilwoman Sandoval issued the following statement:
“Under the leadership of State Rep. Ray Lopez and Commissioner Kevin Wolff and many others, our MPO has made huge strides in transportation infrastructure. Today’s action marks a seminal advancement for transportation investment in our community.

“Historically, low-income and minority populations have been left out of conversations on transportation planning. Yet they have often suffered some of transportation projects’ worst impacts, such as increased air pollution and economic disinvestment.

“Today’s action charts a path to actively reduce these disproportionate harmful impacts on minority and low-income populations. It’s new territory for us, but necessary. If we understand how projects fare with respect to equity and environmental justice we can make more informed decisions and better serve our community.

“I want to commend AAMPO staff and the Multi Agency work group for bringing forward this recommendation and finding a compromise for the first iteration of this criteria. I look forward to seeing the final scoring rubric.

The AAMPO is a funding subrecipient of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Per DOT, Environmental Justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, national origin, or educational level with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. DOT is committed to ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system for communities nationwide. In doing so, DOT comprehensively incorporates environmental justice (EJ) considerations into all of the Department’s programs, policies, and activities. By ensuring opportunities for minority and low-income communities to influence the transportation planning and decision-making processes through enhanced engagement and meaningful input, the Department actively prevents disproportionately high and adverse effects of transportation projects on minority and low-income communities.

The Department of Transportation’s guiding environmental justice principles are:

  • To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process;
  • To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority or low-income populations; and
  • To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority or low-income populations.

Councilwoman Sandoval has represented the City of San Antonio on the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Policy Board and Executive Committee since 2017. She serves alongside fellow Councilmembers Melissa Cabello Havrda, Shirley Gonzales, and Clayton Perry.

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