Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) documents show that the agency has adopted policies that will give consideration to “transportation equity” due to past injustices and present inequities in transportation planning.
On January 25, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 13985, officially titled Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. It directs the federal government to revise agency policies to account for racial inequities in their implementation. As a result of this order, on May 25, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a Request for Information (RFI) on Transportation Equity Data.
These actions by the federal government – occurring just over a year ago – have already impacted transportation planning in Florida.
For example, a policy brief distributed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Office of Policy Planning – titled “Equity Subject Brief” – describes strategies to improve transportation equity. The document notes that the “state’s long-range transportation plan – the Florida Transportation Plan (FTP) – establishes the goal of Transportation Choices that Improve Equity and Accessibility.”
This policy message has reached the district staff level.
An agenda for a District One meeting in Bartow, Florida – which took place in September of last year – listed “Transportation Equity” as a discussion item. The item noted that FDOT manuals will include provisions for equity, there will be funding to address impacts from the past, and discretionary funding will have equity requirements.
In addition, it appears that the FDOT has hired a consultant to help with the implementation of this new policy direction.
Resource Systems Group Inc. (RSG), a consulting company that employs “research and analytics to inform our clients’ strategy and planning, helping organizations make critical decisions …” cites its relationship with the FDOT on its website.
RSG states the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has recently prioritized equity considerations amid the recognition of how past injustices and present inequities intersect with transportation planning. As part of this process, USDOT has solicited input into how the agency can advance equity. Changes include the prioritization of projects that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity outcomes.
RSG explains why FDOT needed its services:
“To keep apprised of rapid changes in the understanding of equity in a transportation context, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) tasked RSG with conducting an equity scan at the federal, state, and municipal level. We reviewed available literature on the topic and conducted in-depth interviews with four metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) across the state. RSG is using these findings to prepare a subject brief on equity for use by agencies across the state. The subject brief will help inform how FDOT can support other agencies and strengthen the role that equity has within the planning process. This work will better position FDOT to assist state MPOs in advancing equity in transportation.”
The Florida Capital Star has requested additional information related to FDOT’s relationship with RSG.
Reprinted with permission from The Florida Capital Star.
Equity as a principle should be present in every facet of society, not just infrastructure. With that said, the US has a poor record of instilling or exacerbating inequality through infrastructure projects. I am frankly surprised that the FDOT hasn’t been coerced to look the other way after Biden’s policy approval by the likes of the Governor who seem to be solely focused on furthering culture wars and non-issues. The comment section alone shows how little people know and think about the impacts – good and bad – of infrastructure on our quality of life. Alas, as a transportation planner in Florida, I welcome this overdue news.
Waste of taxpayers money. in the end all they will do is change a few road and city names because of a Confederate past or just plain Yankee cussedness.
I’m so confused?
I am proud of DOT for addressing this serious issue.
As an owner of a gasoline guzzling pickup that now identifies as trans-energied (it now identifies as an EV) and is a minority (Ram), transportation equity is now an important concern of mine.
I believe all trans-energy vehicles have a right to the roads as much as cis-energied vehicles do with the total freedom to express their identity.
These comments exemplify why countless Americans think Florida is so backward.
Another great example of complete and illogical utter nonsense. Our state agencies in Florida have been filled for generations with liberal, progressive Democrats who manage to make the lives of Floridians more difficult in conducting the basic affairs of living and doing business in the state. They hate Republican leadership because they are so mistreated when it comes to pay and benefits. If these generationally ignorant employees would pursue excellence in the real statutory mission of their agencies and pursue customer service excellence with professional passion, then perhaps they would be far more respected as public servants. But these employees (in general) are far more concerned with reflecting and inserting their personal political positions and views on implementation of statutory mandates directed by the Florida Legislature. And they spend way too much time trying pursue activism in all its various forms in the workplace. If that’s their goal, then I think they should resign and pursue their political activism via the numerous avenues available to them today. But get out of the way of Floridians who simply want to live and function without all of the utter nonsense being presented as inarguable, unquestionable facts in this culture where those charged with governance and public service have no ability to think logically or critically.
So we need a road to connect Orange Avenue with Leon County Lock Up. Yesterday’s Leon County Booking Report: 3 pages all “people of color” minus 4 white people. Stop the insanity! You cannot buy good citizenship. You cannot pay someone to be a responsible parent. And you can make college free but you cannot make the student learn. This country has spent billions of dollars and nothing has change except the definition of poor. IMO, we need a cap on welfare benefits. One kid you cannot afford is one thing, but more than that, call your parents for the money. Cut the taxpayer a break.
What THEHELL is ‘Transportation Equity’ and how is it Racist?
“Changes include the prioritization of projects that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity outcomes.” ……. This sounds like they are going to do to Transportation what they did to Education, DUMB IT DOWN so more Blacks can get in on it with out having to work for it.
These people have flipped their freak’n lids. It’s typical SOP for Progressive Pinheads… “Invent Shark; Feed Shark; Jump Shark”
How is it equitable that gas is now $4 and the wealthy can afford Teslas and don’t get hit with Biden’s anti oil and gas policies? But at least we don’t have Trumps mean Tweets.
“RSG explains why FDOT needed its services: “To keep apprised of rapid changes in the understanding of equity in a transportation context”.
I bet they need help responding to the rapid changes and never ending bizarre demands of the current Biden administration.
The progressives excel at squandering money and this is just one more example.