In 1994 and later in 1997, USDOT finalized Executive Order 12898 and Environmental Justice (EJ) regulations which required full and fair public participation in the transportation planning process, prevents the denial of, or reduction in, benefits to minority and low income populations, and the avoidance of disproportionately high and adverse social, economic and/or environmental impacts of transportation services, programs, or projects in minority and low income populations.

Addressing EJ requirements, the ACRTA, working with the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, designated as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Allen County, reviewed the existing fixed route, current ridership, and the residency and employment characteristics of the low income and minority populations in the Lima Urbanized Area. Thereafter, the ACRTA compiled, reviewed and requested federal MPO/STP funds for various capital items necessary to further public transportation services in the Lima Urbanized Area. The ACRTA requested fiscal support in the acquisition of both fixed route buses and new paratransit vehicles and new computer capabilities to promote coordination activities with the communities many non-profit paratransit operators. The MPO reviewed the ACRTA’s TDP for supporting documentation and compliance issues. The MPO found the capital requests supporting and enhancing the levels of available public transportation services, as well as those of local not-for-profit paratransit operators also serving the targeted populations. The ACRTA suggests such capital equipment benefits the minority and low income populations with no subsequent adverse impacts to the targeted populations as outlined in the EJ planning regulations. The MPO and the general public support the ACRTA contention that such expenditures are necessary to maintain an alternative mode of travel, mode choice and travel opportunities, especially for the community’s disadvantaged and physically challenged.