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Equity and Access Policy Statement

The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, environmental justice, and equal opportunity. The simple yet powerful mandate of equity and access in transportation will shape and drive all departmental programs and activities.

In accordance with Executive Order 13985, "Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government," the Department proactively will ensure nondiscrimination in all of its federally conducted programs, activities, and services. This means that, among other things, the Department is committed to promoting equitable delivery of government benefits and opportunities, including advancing meaningful engagement with all communities and ensuring that government contracting and procurement opportunities are available on an equal basis to all eligible providers of goods and services. The Department will also work with recipients of Federal funding to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and its implementing regulations, to ensure that no person 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 in any program, activity, or service provided by or funded by the Department.

The Department is committed to ensuring full and equitable access to programs, activities, and services for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). This applies to the Department’s activities, as well as the Department’s federally conducted programs, activities, and services in accordance with Executive Order 13166, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency." Providing appropriate language assistance requires identifying critical points of interaction with the LEP public, assessing LEP communities’ particular language assistance needs, and determining, with specificity, how each of the Department’s Operating Administrations (OA) will ensure meaningful access for LEP persons. The Department recognizes that many of these tasks are best addressed by the OAs, which often have more direct contact with persons and communities requiring language assistance. Accordingly, each OA is responsible for issuing and implementing a language access policy consistent with departmental language access policy and must emphasize the importance of providing appropriate language-based access to its programs and activities.

It is also the Department’s ongoing commitment to make achieving environmental justice (EJ) part of our mission by developing programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related, and other cumulative impacts on disadvantaged communities. It is the Department’s policy, as reflected in the Department’s EJ Strategy, to incorporate EJ and equity principles into all transportation planning and decision-making processes and project development and to promote these goals through public outreach efforts conducted by the Department and its funding recipients.

In addition to our statutory obligations, equity—as a matter of principle—is essential in all our dealings with the American public. The Department simply cannot fulfill its mission without recognizing equity as a driving force, and I am committed to ensuring that all communities have meaningful access to our Department’s programs and activities.

Pete Buttigieg

Last updated: Monday, May 3, 2021