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FTA Letter

FTA Letter

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Published by: sourcemetro on Apr 23, 2012
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04/24/2012

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U.S.DepartmentofTransportation
FederalTransitAdministration
Administrator1200NewJerseyAvenue,SEWashington,DC20590
APR232012
Mr.ArthurLeahyChiefExecutiveOfficerLosAngelesCountyMetropolitanTransportationAuthorityOneGatewayPlazaLosAngeles,CA90012DearMr.Leahy:Iwriteregardingamatterofutmostimportance,namelyourcollectiveresponsibilitytoprotectthecivilrightsofalltransitusersthroughoutthegreaterLosAngelesregion.Asyouknow,TitleVIoftheCivilRightsActof1964providesthat"NopersonintheUnitedStatesshall,onthegroundofrace,color,ornationalorigin,beexcludedfromparticipationin,bedeniedthebenefitsof,orbesubjectedtodiscriminationunderanyprogramoractivityreceivingFederalfinancialassistance."U.S.DepartmentofTransportation(DOT)regulationsrequirethatpublictransportationservicesbeprovidedinanondiscriminatorymanner.Toimplementthisrequirement,DOTregulationsandtheFederalTransitAdministration's(FTA)TitleVIguidancerequirethattransitagenciesreceivingFederalassistanceevaluatewhetheranymajorservicechangemayhaveadiscriminatory(disparate)impactonminoritypassengersascomparedtonon-minoritypassengersbeforeimplementingtheservicechange.Whenapotentiallydiscriminatoryimpactisfound,thetransitagencymustreviseitsplansinordertoavoidormitigatethediscriminatoryimpact.If,upontakingmitigatingactionsandreanalyzingtheproposedchange,thetransitagencydeterminesthatminoritypassengerswillcontinuetobearadisproportionateburdenoftheproposedservicechange,thetransitagencymayimplementtheservicechange
only
iftheagencyhasasubstantiallegitimatejustificationfortheproposedservicechange,andcanshowthattherearenoalternativesthatwouldhavealessdisparateimpactonminorityriders.OnNovember15,2010,FTAreceivedacomplaintfromtheBusRidersUnion(BRU)allegingthatthepoliciesoftheLosAngelesCountyMetropolitanTransportationAuthority(LACMTA)wereprioritizingrailserviceoverbusservicetothedetrimentofminorityandlow-incomecommunitiesandinviolationofTitleVIoftheCivilRightsActof1964.RatherthanpursuingtheBRUcomplaintinisolation,FTAconductedacomprehensivecompliancereviewofLACMTA'sTitleVIprogramandprocesses.Thefindingsofthecompliancereview,andsubsequentanalysisconductedbyFTAstaff,revealnumerousdeficienciesinLACMTA's
 
Page2Mr.ArthurLeahyimplementationofitsTitleVIresponsibilities.Someofourmostdisturbingfindingsindicatethat:LACMTAfailedtocomplywiththeFTArequirementtoconducttherequiredTitleVIserviceequityanalysiswhenevaluatingtheimpactofmanyproposedmajorservicechangesoverthepastseveralyears.LACMTAproceededtoimplementmultiplesemi-annualservicechanges,includingreductionsinservice,despitetheabsenceoftherequiredTitleVIanalysis.LACMTAfailedtouseitsownBoard-adopteddefinitionofa"majorservicechange"whenidentifyingservicecutsthatmustbesubjecttoanalysisforpotentialdiscriminatoryimpacts.OnlybyconductingtheTitleVIanalysiscouldLACMTAdeterminewhethertheproposedservicechangeswouldhavedisparateimpacts.SinceLACMTAdidnotconducttheTitleVIportionoftheserviceequityanalysis,LACMTAcannotassurethatitsservicechangeswereimplementedinanondiscriminatorymanner.ThesefindingsareparticularlytroublingsinceLACMTAshouldbewellfamiliarwiththerequirementsofDOT'sTitleVIregulationsinthewakeofitsmanyyearsoflitigationandthemulti-yearConsentDecreethatitenteredintowiththeBRUandotherplaintiffs.ThesefindingsnowrequiremetoformallyfindLACMTAnotcompliantwithFTATitleVIrequirements.SinceFederallawrequiresFTAtofirstseekvoluntarycompliancewhenaddressingpotentialviolationsofTitleVI,youragencymusttakeaseriesofimmediateactionstocomeintocompliance.ForpurposesofcomingintocompliancewithFTArequirements,LACMTAisdirectedtotakethefollowingsteps:LACMTAmustconductacumulativeserviceequityanalysisofthefollowingservicechanges:December2009,June2010,December2010,andJune2011,andmakeadeterminationastowhetherthosechangesresultedinunjustifieddisparateimpactsinviolationofTitleVI.Priortoconductingthisanalysis,LACMTAisdirectedtosubmitadetailedmethodologyforconductingtheanalysistoFTAforapproval.
Importantly,LACMTAistoassessitsserviceassumingthatithadnotmadeanyservicereductionsduringthisperiod;thechangesmustbeanalyzedcumulatively,comparingtoday'sconditionsandservicelevelswiththeconditionsandservicelevelsinplacepriortoDecember2009.
IfLACMTA'sserviceequityanalysisrevealsunjustifieddisparateimpacts,orjustifieddisparateimpactsthatmaybemitigatedthroughanalternativewithlessofadisparateeffect,LACMTAmustrestoreand/orrestructureservicetoremedyitsTitleVIviolations.FTAwillmonitorLACMTA'sprogressduringthisanalysis.Priortoimplementinganycorrectiveservicechanges,LACMTAmustsubmititsdocumentationofthemethodologyandanalysistoFTAforfinalreview.
 
Page3Mr.ArthurLeahyTobeclear,aninabilitybyLACMTAtodemonstrateasubstantiallegitimatejustificationandselectionoftheleastdiscriminatoryalternativewithoutappropriateservicerestorationscouldresultinLACMTAbeingfoundinviolationofTitleVIandendangeritseligibilitytoreceiveFederalfundsforbothitsongoingneedsanditsplansfortheexpansionofitsrailnetwork.FTA'sfindingsandthemeasuresrequiredforLACMTAtocomeintocompliancearediscussedingreaterdetailintheencloseddeterminationmemorandum.FTAfirstdiscussedthedraftcompliancereviewfindingswithLACMTAinSeptember2011.ThispastDecember,LACMTAsubmittedacorrectiveactionplantoaddressmanyofthefindingsofthecompliancereviewandsubmittedanupdatetothecorrectiveactionplaninFebruary2012.WearepleasedwithLACMTA'snotableprogressinmanyareas,andweappreciatethediligencewithwhichLACMTAisnowseekingtocorrectpasterrors.ConsiderableprogresshasbeenmadewithLACMTA'scorrectiveactionplan,notablyitsupdatednoticetobeneficiaries,itstranslationofthenoticeinto10languages,andtheestablishmentofsystem-wideservicestandardsandpolicies.Whileagreatdealofworkhasbeendone,agreatdealmoreworkmustnowbedonetoensurethatthecumulativeeffectsofmultipleservicechangesdidnotinanywayviolatethecivilrightsofLosAngelestransitriders.LACMTA'sFebruary2012correctiveactionplanmustnowberevisedtoincorporatethedirectivescitedaboveandintheencloseddeterminationmemorandum.FTAwillsendaseparateletteridentifyingwhichelementsoftheFebruary2012correctiveactionplanareapprovedandprovidecommentsornecessaryrevisionstothoseportionsofthecorrectiveactionplanthatarenotyetsatisfactory.Sincerelyyours,PeterRogoffcc:TheHonorableThomasE.PerezAssistantAttorneyGeneralEnclosure:DeterminationMemorandum

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