On June 10, 2010, in a follow-up to our work on the Oakland Airport Connector, we filed an administrative Title VI complaint with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) against the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) on behalf of Urban Habitat and Genesis. Our 40-page complaint, attaching 28 exhibits, included a detailed legal analysis showing that MTC was not only obligated by federal law to monitor the Title VI compliance of its subrecipients, but that MTC is statutorily responsible for certifying that compliance with respect to the regional transportation planning that occurs throughout its nine-county region. We also charged that MTC failed not only in its duty to monitor the compliance of others, but that MTC has failed to meet its own obligations, by assembling a program of expansion projects without any equity analysis.
On July 19, 2010 the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) opened an investigation into possible civil rights violations by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). FTA followed up with an August 12 letter to MTC explaining why MTC was wrong in its view that it was not responsible for monitoring the Title VI compliance of its subrecipients, and directing MTC to produce a range of documents within 30 days so that FTA could determine whether MTC had met its obligation. Among the requested items were documents showing the steps MTC took to investigate our complaint against BART, and MTC’s policies for penalizing subrecipients that breach their contractual obligation to comply with Title VI.
FTA conducted a three-day on-site review of MTC’s Title VI compliance on September 19-21, 2011. The compliance visit began with FTA investigators meeting at MTC headquarters with Public Advocates attorneys and a large group of our clients and allies. The participants, who included representatives of Urban Habitat, Genesis, ACCE Riders for Transit Justice, Breakthrough Communities, TransForm and California WALKS, discussed the issues in the Title VI complaint against MTC, and a range of civil rights concerns that arose since the complaint was filed.