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Legal Research Digest 35 TRansiT CoopeRaTive ReseaRCh pRogRam sponsored by the Federal Transit administration march 2011 TRanspoRTaTion ReseaRCh BoaRD OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Reductions in tRansit seRvice oR incReases in FaRes: civil Rights, ada, RegulatoRy, and enviRonmental Justice implications This report was prepared under TCRp project J-5, âLegal aspects of Transit and intermodal Transportation programs,â for which the Transportation Research Board is the agency coordinating the research. The report was prepared by Larry W. Thomas, attorney-at-Law. James B. mcDaniel, TRB Counsel for Legal Research projects, was the principal investigator and content editor. the problem and its solution The nationâs 6,000 plus transit agencies need to have access to a program that can provide authoritatively researched, specific, limited-scope studies of legal is- sues and problems having national significance and application to their business. Some transit programs involve legal problems and issues that are not shared with other modes; as, for example, compliance with transit-equipment and operations guidelines, FTA fi- nancing initiatives, private-sector programs, and labor or environmental standards relating to transit opera- tions. Also, much of the information that is needed by transit attorneys to address legal concerns is scattered and fragmented. Consequently, it would be helpful to the transit lawyer to have well-resourced and well- documented reports on specific legal topics available to the transit legal community. The Legal Research Digests (LRDs) are developed to assist transit attorneys in dealing with the myriad of initiatives and problems associated with transit start-up and operations, as well as with day-to-day le- gal work. The LRDs address such issues as eminent domain, civil rights, constitutional rights, contract- ing, environmental concerns, labor, procurement, risk management, security, tort liability, and zoning. The transit legal research, when conducted through the TRBâs legal studies process, either collects primary data that generally are not available elsewhere or per- forms analysis of existing literature. applications State and local governments and other publicly sup- ported agencies are increasingly reviewing their oper- ations to accommodate budget shortfalls. In this con- text, transit agencies are reviewing staffing, programs, and the nature and extent of the services they provide. Often, the only option is to reduce services and/or staff. Such restrictions in service or fare increases are likely to adversely affect those who are most depen- dent on transit. Statutes, regulations, and a Presidential Executive Order demand that those cutbacks donât dis- proportionally adversely affect minority, disabled, and low-income populations. TCRP Legal Research Digest 7: The Impact of Civil Rights Litigation Under Title VI and Related Laws on Transit Decision Making (1997) identified and ana- lyzed the applicable Title VI and other civil rights re- quirements when providing transit services. This di- gest also looks at the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and environmental justice when dealing with reductions in transit service or increases in fares. âEnvironmental justiceâ is a term associated with the elimination of âunfair and inequitable conditions.â One modal administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation has described three fundamental envi- ronmental justice principles: 1) to avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority and low-income popu- lations; 2) to ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process; and 3) to prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations. This digest considers transit agenciesâ compliance with constitutional requirements, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the ADA. Responsible senior program officer: gwen chisholm smith