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Friday, September 25, 2009

FTA rules Houston Metro's Title VI program complete

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Houston METRO's Title VI program has been approved by the Federal Transit Administration - another step toward federal Full Funding Grant Agreements for the build out of Houston's light-rail system. After a thorough study, the FTA's Office of Civil Rights ruled METRO's program is complete and in compliance with requirements related to Title VI. This compliance is necessary to apply for the FTA's New Starts program - the federal government's primary financial resource for supporting major transit "guideway" capital investments such as light rail.

METRO is requesting New Starts monies to fund the North and Southeast light-rail projects.

Title VI was enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. METRO, as with other transit agencies, is required to submit its Title VI program to the FTA every three years.

"We recognize and appreciate the efforts that Houston METRO has made in response to the report's findings," wrote Cheryl L. Hershey, director of the FTA Office of Civil Rights, in a September 22, 2009 letter. "Amongst the many actions taken, Houston METRO has developed a limited English proficiency program, analyzed service and fare changes to ensure reductions would not be disproportionately borne by predominantly minority communities."

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