Title VI Program 2016

City of Santa Rosa
Transportation and Public Works Department, Transit Division

Santa Rosa CityBus Title VI Program



Revised February 2016

I. Overview


Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal statute that provides that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. All programs receiving financial assistance from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are subject to Title VI and the U.S. Department of Transportation's implementing regulations at 49 CFR part 21. As the operator of Santa Rosa CityBus, the City of Santa Rosa's Transit Division (within the Transportation and Public Works Department) is a recipient of financial assistance from FTA.

FTA requires that all direct and primary recipients of FTA financial assistance document their compliance by submitting a Title VI Program to their regional civil rights officer once every three years. The Title VI Program must be approved by the recipient's governing body, in this case the Santa Rosa City Council, prior to submission. The required elements of the Title VI Program, as well as overall requirements for ensuring compliance with Title VI, are detailed in FTA Circular 4702.1B (dated October 1, 2012). The City of Santa Rosa's Transit Division has prepared this Title VI Program in accordance with these requirements.

The Title VI Program encompasses the following areas:
  • Equity analysis related to determination of the site or location of new transit facilities
  • Language assistance plan
  • Procedures for filing a Title VI complaint
  • Public notice of the protections from discrimination provided by Title VI
  • Public participation plan
  • Racial breakdown of the membership of non-elected advisory boards or committees
  • Systemwide service standards and policies

II. Title VI Notice to the Public


Title 49 CFR 21.9 (d) requires that recipients provide information to the public regarding the recipient's obligations under DOT's Title VI regulations and apprise members of the public of the protections against discrimination afforded to them by Title VI. At a minimum, recipients shall post a Title VI notice on the agency's website and in the public areas of the agency's office(s), such as reception desk and meeting rooms. Recipients are also advised to post Title VI notices at stations or stops and/or on transit vehicles.

The Title VI notice must include:

  1. A statement that the agency operates programs without regard to race, color, or national origin,
  2. A description of the procedures that members of the public should follow in order to request additional information on the recipient's Title VI obligations, and
  3. A description of the procedures that members of the public shall follow in order to file a Title VI discrimination complaint against the recipient.
The required Title VI Notice is provided via the Santa Rosa CityBus Non-Discrimination Policy. A copy of the Non-Discrimination Policy is provided in the above links.

The Non-Discrimination Policy is available in English and Spanish on the Transit Division website, in public areas of the Transit Division offices at City Hall and the Transit Operations Building, on posters at major transit hubs and onboard every CityBus revenue vehicle.

III. Title VI Complaint Procedures


In order to comply with 49 CFR 21.9 (b), recipients must develop procedures for investigating and tracking Title VI complaints filed against them and make the procedure for filing a complaint available to the public. Recipients must also develop a Title VI complaint form. The complaint form and procedure for filing a complaint must be available on the recipient's website.

The Santa Rosa CityBus procedure for filing and investigating Title VI complaints is provided in the above links. View the Title VI Complaint Form (PDF). In addition, information about filing a Title VI complaint is included in the Santa Rosa CityBus Non-Discrimination Policy.

IV. Title VI Investigations, Complaints, or Lawsuits


In order to comply with the reporting requirements established in 49 CFR 21.9 (b), FTA requires recipients to prepare and maintain a list of any of the following that allege discrimination based on race, color, or national origin: active investigations conducted by entities other than FTA, lawsuits, and complaints naming the recipient. The list must contain the date that the investigation, lawsuit, or complaint was filed; a summary of allegations; the status of the investigation, lawsuit, or complaint; and actions taken by the recipient in response, or final findings related to the investigation, lawsuit, or complaint.

Since the last Title VI Program submission (in February 2013), the Transit Division has been named in a single complaint alleging discrimination based on race, color, or national origin:

V. Public Participation Plan



A. Introduction and Policy Statement


The City of Santa Rosa is committed to providing an open and visible decision-making process to which Santa Rosa residents have equal access. As established in City Council Policy 000-20 ("Citizen Participation," dated August 18, 1987), it is the policy of the City Council to actively solicit the involvement of citizens in the public decision-making process, through public notification, media exposure, neighborhood meetings, and public hearings.

Further, it is the policy of the City of Santa Rosa Transit Division to offer early and continuous opportunities for the public to be involved in the identification of social, economic, and environmental impacts of proposed transportation decisions. This includes seeking out and considering the viewpoints of minority, low-income, and limited English proficiency (LEP) populations (as well as older adults and people with limited mobility) in the course of conducting public outreach activities, consistent with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Circular 4702.1B ("Title VI Requirements and Guidelines for Federal Transit Administration Recipients").

B. Public Involvement Plan


Per City Council Policy 000-20, when a project, program or issue may have identifiable impacts on a neighborhood or citizen group, a Public Involvement Plan shall be submitted to the City Manager's Office at the beginning of the project or program.

The Plan shall be designed to:

  1. Ensure responsiveness to the level of interest and concern expressed by the public;
  2. Ensure visibility and understanding by the agencies, groups and individuals who may participate; and
  3. Ensure that public involvement is carefully and systematically included as part of the decision-making process.
Per Council policy, Public Involvement Plans for City-initiated projects will be reviewed and approved by the City Manager's Office prior to implementation.

The Public Involvement Plan will be included as part of staff reports for the Council.

C. Public Involvement Principles


The following principles will be used to develop the Public Involvement Plan for Transit Division projects and programs:

When a project (e.g., construction activity) may affect a neighborhood, special neighborhood meetings will be scheduled early in the project planning process. Notices will be sent to organized neighborhood groups and any individual who has requested notification. (City Council Policy 000-20)

All public hearing notices shall be written in clear, concise and understandable language and will incorporate graphics when it aids the message. The notices will clearly be identified as a City of Santa Rosa notice. (City Council Policy 000-20)

The Public Involvement Plan will reflect the Transit Division's policy to provide early and continuous opportunities for the public to be involved in the identification of the impacts of proposed decisions. It will also reflect the Transit Division's policy to seek out the viewpoints of minority, low-income, and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) populations, as well as older adults and people with limited mobility, in the course of conducting public outreach and involvement activities, consistent with the Transit Division's Title VI Program, Executive Order 13166 on access for individuals with Limited English Proficiency, and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) LEP Guidance.

The Public Involvement Plan will be tailored to the populations affected and the type of plan, program, or service under consideration.

Public meetings will be held in locations that are accessible to transit riders and people with disabilities, and will be scheduled at times that are convenient for members of the public.

Public meetings and hearings will be broadly advertised in the community in both English and Spanish (e.g., through posters onboard buses and at major transit stops and facilities, the CityBus website, local print media, social media, and email notification to the Transit Division's outreach mailing list) and notification will be provided regarding the availability of language assistance.

D. Public Comment for Fare Increases and Major Service Changes


Consistent with City Council Policy 000-20 and FTA Circular 9030.1D, it is the policy of the Transit Division to solicit public opinion and consider public comment before raising fares or implementing a major service change.

A public hearing is required prior to implementation of a fare increase or a major service change. A "major" service change is defined as a modification that affects 25% or more of a single route, or 25% or more of all routes. Additional public involvement strategies, such as public meetings, neighborhood meetings, or other outreach to affected individuals will be implemented as appropriate to solicit public comment for consideration in advance of the public hearing. Public comments received will be compiled and considered prior to finalizing the Transit Division's recommendation to the City Council regarding a fare increase or major service change. A summary of the public comments received will be provided as part of the staff report submitted to City Council for the fare increase or major service change in question.

The public hearing will be scheduled as part of a regular Santa Rosa City Council meeting, and advertised broadly through the City's website, the Transit Division citywide outreach mailing list, and posters and flyers at the Santa Rosa Transit Mall, at major transfer centers, on buses, and at bus stops. The hearing will also be advertised through targeted outreach to neighborhood groups or other organizations and individuals, as appropriate to the proposed change. Notices regarding the public hearing will be provided in both English and Spanish. The Santa Rosa City Clerk will additionally post notice of the public hearing in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

The public hearing will consist of a staff report before the City Council, followed by public testimony.

Attachment 1 provides additional information on practices related to public comment.

E. Targeted Public Outreach to Minority and Limited English Proficient (LEP) Populations


During development of the Public Involvement Plan and/or planning for public engagement in general, the Transit Division will incorporate strategies intended to promote involvement of minority and LEP individuals in public participation activities, as appropriate for the plan, project, or service in question, and consistent with federal Title VI regulations, Executive Order 13166 on Limited English Proficiency, and the U.S. Department of Transportation LEP Guidance.

At a minimum, staff will implement the strategies identified in Section D, including holding public meetings in locations that are accessible to transit riders and people with disabilities, scheduling meetings at times that are convenient for members of the public, advertising meetings and hearings in English and Spanish, and providing notice of the availability of language assistance.

In addition, Transit Division staff should consider implementing the following public engagement strategies to complement the minimum requirements, as appropriate to the plan, project, or service:

Using supplemental outreach strategies such as surveys regarding Transit Division projects or proposed service changes.

Partnering with community organizations to engage members of the public who are less likely to attend traditional public meetings (including LEP populations) through means such as surveys and focus groups. The Transit Division maintains a list of current and potential future community partners.

Attending community events and meetings of neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, advocacy groups, and other groups to solicit feedback from diverse members of the public.

Transit Division staff may consult FTA Circular 4703.1 ("Environmental Justice Policy Guidelines for Federal Transit Administration Recipients") for additional strategies that may be incorporated into the Public Involvement Plan.

VI. Providing Meaningful Access to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Persons/Language Assistance Plan



Consistent with Title VI, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) implementing regulations, and Executive Order 13166 ("Improving Access to Services for People with Limited English Proficiency," dated August 11, 2000), recipients must take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to benefits, services, information, and other important portions of their programs and activities for individuals who are Limited English Proficient (LEP).

Recipients are required by FTA to conduct a "Four Factor Analysis" consistent with DOT's LEP guidance, as well as develop a Language Assistance Plan based on the results of the analysis. The Language Assistance Plan shall 1) include the results of the Four Factor Analysis, 2) describe how the recipients provides language assistance services by language, 3) describe how the recipient provides notice to LEP persons about the availability of language assistance, 4) describe how the recipient monitors, evaluates, and updates the language assistance plan, and 5) describe how the recipient trains employees to provide timely and reasonable language assistance to LEP persons.

A copy of the Santa Rosa CityBus Language Assistance Plan is provided in the above links.

VII. Minority Representation on Planning and Advisory Bodies


Recipients may not, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, deny a person the opportunity to participate as a member of a planning, advisory, or similar body which is an integral part of the program. Recipients that have transit-related, non-elected planning boards, advisory councils or committees, the membership of which is selected by the recipient, must provide a table depicting the racial breakdown of the membership of those bodies and a description of efforts made to encourage the participation of minorities on such bodies.

The City of Santa Rosa does not currently have any transit-related, non-elected boards, councils, or committees. The Santa Rosa City Council serves as the policy board for Santa Rosa CityBus.

VIII. Subrecipient Compliance


Primary recipients of FTA financial assistance are required to provide assistance to subrecipients of federal financial assistance to support subrecipients' compliance with Title VI regulations. Primary recipients are also required to monitor subrecipients for compliance with regulations. The City of Santa Rosa does not extend FTA financial assistance to subrecipients.

IX. Determination of Site or Location of Facilities


Per 49 CFR 21.9 (b)(3), recipients may not select the site or location of facilities with the purpose or effect of excluding persons from, denying the benefits of, or subjecting them to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Per 49 CFR 21, (The Public Participation Plan), the location of projects requiring land acquisition and the displacement of persons from their residences and business may not be determined on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

Facilities included in this provision include, but are not limited to, storage facilities, maintenance facilities, and operations centers. Bus shelters are not included in this provision as they are considered transit amenities and are covered by regulations discussed in Section X of this Title VI Program. Transit stations, power substations and similar facilities are not included in this provision as they are evaluated during project development and the NEPA process.

For facilities covered by this provision, recipients are required to:

  1. Complete a Title VI equity analysis during the planning state with regard to where a project is located to ensure the location is selected without regard to race, color, or national origin, and engage in outreach to persons potentially impacted by siting of facilities. The Title VI equity analysis must compare the equity impacts of various siting alternatives, and the analysis must occur before the selection of the preferred site.
  2. Give attention to other facilities with similar impacts in the area to determine if any cumulative adverse impacts might result. Analysis should be done at the Census tract or block group level where appropriate to ensure proper analysis of localized impacts.
  3. Provide substantial legitimate justification for locating a project in a location that will result in a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and show that there are no alternative locations that would have a less disparate impact on the basis of race, color, or national origin. In order to show that both tests have been met, the recipient must consider and analyze alternatives to determine whether those alternatives would have less of a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and then implement the least discriminatory alternative.
The City of Santa Rosa has no current or anticipated plans to develop new transit facilities covered by these requirements. No facilities covered by these requirements were developed since the last Title VI Program submission in February 2010.

X. Systemwide Service Standards and Policies


The requirement to set systemwide service standards and policies relates to the general prohibition on discrimination on the basis on race, color, or national origin (49 CFR 21.5) as well as the requirement that no person or group of persons shall be discriminated against with regard to the routing, scheduling, or quality of service of transportation service on the basis of race, color, or national origin (49 CFR 21, Appendix C). Specifically, frequency of service, age and quality of transit vehicles assigned to routes, quality of stations serving different routes, and location of routes may not be determined on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

Providers of fixed-route public transportation services are to set service standards and policies for each fixed-route mode provided. The standards and policies must address how services and amenities are distributed across the transit system, and ensure that service design and operations practices do not result in discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Specific quantitative standards are required for the following indicators: 1) vehicle load, 2) vehicle headway, 3) on-time performance, and 4) service availability (a measure of how routes are distributed within the service area). Policies are required for the following service indicators: 1) distribution of transit amenities (including seating, shelters, printed and digital information, escalators, elevators, and waste receptacles) for each fixed-route mode operated, and 2) vehicle assignment for each fixed-route mode operated.

Adopted service standards and policies for Santa Rosa CityBus are provided in the above links.