League of Women Voters of Fresno signed on to a letter to the Council of Governments composed by Leadership Counsel’s legal team which raised objections to process in transportation planning efforts to meet Green House Gas Emission reductions over the next four years. League was joined by the State Routes to School National Partnership, Central California Asthma Collaboration and the Catholic Diocese of Fresno as signatures on the letter.
Objections to the Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS) planning include:
- Lacked public participation in developing scenarios. Three scenarios were drafted by COG staff and presented as alternatives to the public although federal law makes it clear that public participation may not be limited to voting between predetermined scenarios.
- Established a pattern of hostility toward equity in violation of Title VI. COG and the Regional Transportation Planning (RTP) Roundtable denied inclusion of language promoting equity in transportation in policies of the RTP, despite the law’s prohibition against disparate impacts on minority and low-income populations and requirements to address discriminatory conditions.
- Lacked adequate environmental justice indicators to measure the impacts of regional transportation investments on environmental justice communities.
- Failed to give the public a basic understanding of the data and modeling assumptions used in scenario development.
- Failed to comply with obligations to further fair housing in its Regional Transportation Plan.
California Rural Legal Assistance also sent a letter to the Transportation Technical Committee of COG presenting the omissions of legal requirements that COG must consider in complying with Title VI.
A meeting with COG staff is being set to discuss the issues raised in the letter.