What is "environmental justice"?
Recipients of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and/or Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds must address and meet the requirements of "environmental justice" for both transportation and transit projects, programs, and policies.
Specifically stated by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT):
Executive Order 12898 (Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations - February 11th, 1998) requires Federal agencies to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including interrelated social and economic effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.
Simply stated: Projects funded with federal funds should not disadvantage low income or minority persons more than the general population.
What is considered a "high minority area"?
A census tract (a small geographic area used by the Census Bureau to compile social and economic data) that has a minority population greater than the average for a metropolitan statistical area is considered a "high minority" area.
For example, the average minority population per census tract in St. Joseph County was 14.3% in 1990. Therefore, any census tract with a greater percentage could be identified as a high-minority population census tract.
What is considered a "low income area"?
Low-income households are those that are at or below the Department of Health and Human Service's poverty guidelines. Currently, this is defined as being less than 70% of the median household income for the specified Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
For example, the median household income per census tract in St. Joseph County was $28,235 in 1990. Thus any census tract with an average household income less than $19,765 could be identified as a "low income area".
How was environmental justice addressed in the MACOG 2035 Transportation Plan?
MACOG identified census tracts in both St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties that met the standards of being high-minority or low-income areas. The areas were mapped and overlaid with the 2035 Transportation Plan projects maps. These maps demonstrate that the high-minority and low-income areas are not disproportionately affected by transportation projects. The maps are available for review in the MACOG office.
The MACOG is working with its jurisdictions and providing assistance in documenting and addressing environmental justice issues during early coordination meetings and activities.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management offers the following website with links to other sites which address Environmental Justice issues:
If you have any questions about environmental justice, please contact MACOG at (574) 674-8894 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.