2014 Draft Public Participation Plan

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Table of Contents

SECTION I. MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
SECTION II. INTRODUCTION
About SCAG 2
Purpose of the Plan
SECTION III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PLAN GOALS
SECTION IV. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PLAN PROCESS FOR ACHIEVING GOALS
SECTION V. INTERESTED PARTIES
SECTION VI. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PLAN REQUIREMENTS
Federal Planning Requirements
State Planning Requirements
Consultation Requirements
Bottom-Up Planning and Interagency Consultation
Title VI and Environmental Justice
SECTION VII. ACCOUNTABILITY
SECTION VIII. CONCLUSION
SECTION IX. APPENDIX A
Strategies, Procedures and Techniques for Public Participation
Related to the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), Federal
Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP) and Overall Work Program (OWP)
SECTION X. CONTACTING & PROVIDING INPUT TO SCAG

SECTION I. MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

TO BE DETERMINED

Greg Pettis
President
Southern California Association of Governments

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SECTION II. INTRODUCTION

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) recognizes that the public, stakeholder agencies and other interested parties play a key role in regional planning efforts. SCAG’s Public Participation Plan is intended to guide its public outreach process. This plan explains how SCAG operates, establishes core values for public participation, and sets forth goals and strategies for increasing public information and engagement in the planning process.

ABOUT SCAG

Founded in 1965, SCAG is the nation’s largest Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). SCAG develops the long-range regional transportation plans and programs for the six-county planning area comprised of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. SCAG’s regional transportation plans include sustainable communities strategies to address greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements as well as population, household and employment growth forecast components. SCAG further oversees the federal transportation improvement program, regional housing needs assessment allocations and a portion of the South Coast Air Quality Management plans. SCAG is also the nation’s largest Council of Governments which convenes regularly as a forum to address regional issues.

Decision-making occurs through SCAG’s Regional Council, a governing body comprised of elected officials representing the six counties and 191 cities in the region. Also serving on the Regional Council are representatives from the region’s six County Transportation Commissions, federally recognized tribal governments, air quality districts and the Transportation Corridor Agencies. Currently the Regional Council consists of 86 members.

SCAG’s policy-making process is guided by the work of three Policy Committees: Transportation Committee (TC); Community, Economic and Human Development (CEHD) Committee; and Energy and Environment Committee (EEC). Legislative and communication matters are reviewed by the Legislative/Communications and Membership Committee (LCMC) and the agency’s operations are managed by the Executive/Administration Committee (EAC). Each committee reports to and may propose recommended actions to the Regional Council for adoption. Various other committees, subcommittees, task forces and working groups exist to work on specific topic areas. For example, the Technical Work Group (TWG) is an advisory group formed to provide SCAG staff with a venue to vet technical matters as they relate to SCAG’s development of its regional plans, including the RTP/SCS. More information about each of SCAG’s current committees, subcommittees, technical advisory committees and working groups may be found at on SCAG’s website at: www.scag.ca.gov/committees/Pages/CommitteeL2/WorkingGroups.

PURPOSE OF THE PLAN

The purpose of this Public Participation Plan is for SCAG to describe its responsibilities as well as its goals and strategies for engaging the broadest and most diverse audience possible in the planning and programming processes. The document will also outline opportunities for SCAG to increase public awareness and diverse participation, while expanding the range of voices and views in developing regional plans.

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SECTION III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PLAN GOALS

To demonstrate its commitment to a bottom-up planning approach, SCAG has established a set of activities to achieve key goals centered around three major areas of the agency’s Public Participation Plan – Outreach, Engagement and Evaluation.

Outreach

Activity: Using internal and external resources, identify affected stakeholders and other interested parties. Identify, allocate resources and utilize appropriate communication tools (i.e., phone, electronic, print or media) to best reach stakeholders and communities.
Goal: Ensure that a wide range of perspectives will be heard so that planning outcomes reflect the needs of the region’s diverse communities; increase early and meaningful participation through targeted outreach strategies.

Engagement

Activity: Develop support materials that are easily understood and visually engaging in both print and electronic format and make them accessible at meetings and on SCAG’s website. Plan workshops and/or public hearings at convenient venues and times across the region and/or provide virtual participation if feasible; and insure such events are fully accessible to the general public, including low-income, minority, disabled and Limited English Proficiency populations.
Goal: Provide access to accurate, understandable, pertinent and timely policy, program and technical information to facilitate effective public participation in SCAG’s decision-making process. Provide opportunities for stakeholders across the region to engage in meaningful dialogue during the decision-making process.

Activity: Translate appropriate materials, provide translation resources and make presentations to special focus groups. Provide a variety of methods for the public to submit comments or provide input, including via email to contactus@scag.ca.gov, online form or survey, soliciting public comment during public meetings and workshops held in convenient and easily accessible locations at various times (day and evening) and utilizing SCAG staff and training representatives of organizations that advocate for and represent the interests of traditionally underrepresented and/or underserved populations to conduct public outreach sessions.
Goal: To seek out, engage and consider the needs of traditionally underrepresented and/or underserved populations, such as low-income, minority, disabled and Limited English Proficiency populations. Make commenting on plans convenient and accessible to all citizens.

Activity: Record/document public comments and incorporate feedback into the final plan, to the extent possible. Public comments and staff responses (when applicable) will be included as an appendix to a plan’s final report.
Goal: Evaluate and assimilate public viewpoints and preferences into final decisions, where appropriate and possible and communicate to the public the decisions made and how the public input affected those decisions.

Evaluation

Activity: Provide opportunities for any interested party to join SCAG’s electronic mailing lists or follow SCAG on our social media platforms. Provide regular updates on plans and introduce associated programs that they may be interested in participating in. Evaluate public participation activities. Periodically (within a year of adoption of each RTP/SCS) assess the effectiveness of the procedures and strategies contained in this Public Participation Plan to ensure a full and open participation process.
Goal: Allow any interested party to remain engaged through the decision-making process, the implementation phase and beyond.

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SECTION IV. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PLAN PROCESS FOR ACHIEVING GOALS

To achieve the aforementioned goals, SCAG has established the following strategies and initiatives to engage the public in the region’s transportation planning process.

Outreach

Outreach activities allow SCAG to inform the public of SCAG’s regional planning efforts through elected officials, business and community leaders, civic and faith-based groups, environmental justice advocates, planning professionals and practitioners and a host of other interested and affected organizations. SCAG’s process includes the following:

SCAG Board and Committees

Conduct Regional Council and Policy Committees to ensure public input is considered at the policy/advisory and staff levels.

SCAG Members

Include representatives of municipal governments, air districts, transportation agencies, county transportation commissions, councils of government, tribal governments, municipal associations and county boards in the planning, programming and decision-making processes.

Agency Partners

Work with the six County Transportation Commissions in the SCAG region, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink Trains) and local transit operators to develop outreach and relevant display advertising to engage transit riders. Riders will be referred to mobile websites where they can participate in a quick survey that can inform SCAG and the CTC planning process. Additionally, SCAG will reach out to the state Department of Motor Vehicles for similar outreach assistance. The surveys do not have to be tied to a particular program at first, and users will be asked for their contact information to participate in future surveys. By using these existing networks and relationships with our state and county partners, we hope to engage transportation users and leverage their participation to a larger planning project like the RTP/SCS.

Engagement with Private Sector Partners

Build on existing collaboration with planning professionals and practitioners from all disciplines (housing, transportation, economic development, etc. and engage business, labor and community leaders, associations and organizations in SCAG’s planning processes.

Advocacy Initiative

Maintain ongoing contact with community leaders, environmental justice organizations and residents who have been participating in meetings across the six-county region.

Collaborate with organizations to invite participation from advocacy groups and communities of interest and identify those who are traditionally uninvolved or under-involved in the planning process.

University Partnership Initiative

Collaborate with high schools and universities to increase ongoing participation and develop networks involving high schools involving young people in municipal government and planning and policy work.

Develop and maintain an interactive technological environment to reach residents of the SCAG region and engage them in the SCAG planning process via web and other platforms to allow and encourage participation in online surveys and other forms of interactive dialogues and responses.

When developing SCAG initiatives where outreach is appropriate, agency officials will provide resources and staff time dedicated to public participation activities; time for conducting and evaluating those activities; and staff and resources to provide technical assistance to the involved public where appropriate.

For each new initiative where outreach is appropriate, SCAG will develop a regional stakeholder contact list and add additional members to the list that the public requests to add. SCAG will update each list frequently and strive to ensure stakeholder contact lists include the full range of interested and affected parties.

Staff can construct these lists of contacts using various methods, including by not limited to the following:

  • Providing mailing list sign-up sheets and comment cards at workshops, community meetings, hearings and other public events.
  • Asking event attendees whether any additional interest groups should have been invited.
     
    Using other comprehensive or creative means that understand the community structure, languages spoken, local communications preferences and locations (such as libraries, churches, schools and other centers) as to where the community regularly congregates.

Engagement

Public information programs require the use of appropriate communication tools and will be tailored to accommodate the public’s familiarity with the subject and means of access. These can include publications, fact sheets, technical summaries, bibliographies, resource guides and other explanatory materials.

SCAG provides information, timely public notice and access to key decisions to support early and continuing public involvement in developing its regional plans. There are a variety of ways to participate and comment, including:

Citizen Review and Feedback - SCAG develops regional plans and programs in collaboration with local governments and stakeholders; circulates the draft versions of the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, Federal Transportation Improvement Program, Overall Work Program and other regional initiatives; and provides time for public review and comment prior to finalizing them.

Regular Public Meetings – SCAG encourages the public to address the Regional Council and Policy Committees at every monthly meeting. Meetings for special subcommittees also include time for public comments.

Local Representation – SCAG’s policy-making process is based on a structure that reflects Southern California’s diverse population. Local elected officials throughout Southern California serve on SCAG’s Regional Council and represent one or more communities within the region. The public may choose to speak to their Regional Council representative regarding SCAG plans and policy initiatives. A roster of Regional Council members is available on the SCAG website at www.scag.ca.gov.

Regional Services, Videoconferencing and Virtual Participation – To address the challenges of coordinating participation activities and events across 38,000 square miles of the region, SCAG has established regional offices in the counties of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura. Each office is staffed by a Regional Affairs Officer who coordinates SCAG activities for each county. Additionally, SCAG’s main office in Los Angeles and each regional office are equipped with state-of-the-art videoconferencing systems and SCAG provides additional videoconferencing sites in Coachella Valley, Palmdale and South Bay to provide opportunities for participation in SCAG meetings and workshops. SCAG also utilizes web and audio conferencing and often connects to videoconferencing locations throughout the state. Advances in technology have also made it easier for the public to participate in the planning process on their own free time using a computer or mobile device. An increase in ownership of smart phones is narrowing the digital divide and presents additional opportunities to engage users. Public input via electronic surveys another technology tools is valuable in helping inform SCAG’s planning process, especially from young adults who are the most actively engaged in technology.

Information Resources & Visualization Tools – SCAG utilizes a variety of printed and electronic tools to inform the public about its mission and programs. Printed materials include pamphlets, brochures, reports, fact sheets, press releases and media advisories, plans, working papers, mailers and newsletters can all be accessed on SCAG’s website. Electronic tools include use of social media, the website, list serves, compact discs, videos, PowerPoint presentations and SCAG’s suite of online data visualization tools, techniques and interactive programs that allow participants to create various growth scenarios and compare them to their vision and goals.

Education – SCAG hosts forums, holds news media briefings, public meetings, seminars, summits and workshops to inform the public at places easily accessible to interested and affected persons and organizations. For each meeting or event, a customized set of tools are tailored to localize the planning process and place government policy into context within broader regional planning efforts.

Advances in technology have also made it easier for the public to participate in the planning and programming processes in their own free time and using a computer or mobile device. An increase in ownership of smart phones is narrowing the digital divide and presents additional opportunities to engage users. To take advantage of this, SCAG will develop additional pathways – via mobile website, electronic surveys – and encourage input on a variety of planning subjects or can help the agency set planning priorities. This information is valuable in helping inform SCAG’s planning process, especially from young adults who are the most actively engaged in technology.

Involvement – Feedback from the public is essential to creating plans the public will support. Feedback is obtained through surveys available online or distributed via email or the US Postal Service, at public meetings, workshops, summits and other events; from focus groups; and from other organizations that partner with SCAG in the planning process.

Continuity - SCAG strives to continually inform, educate and involve the public in the planning process. In measuring its work, SCAG continues to evaluate its public participation efforts and share those evaluation results with the public.

Why does SCAG measure/evaluate public participation activities?

SCAG measures and engages the public in evaluating its public participation and planning activities to be in compliance with federal requirements and to ensure the general public’s concerns and issues are directly considered in the alternatives and solutions developed and to provide feedback on how the public influenced SCAG’s mission.

What does SCAG measure?

SCAG measures the number of meetings conducted, demographics of attendees, media coverage, the type and quantity of materials presented, translation of materials, website visits, the number of public comments, how those comments influenced the regional transportation plans, how public concerns and were addressed and whether the public understood the information provided to them.

When does SCAG measure?

SCAG has typically measured major public outreach event outcomes at least annually and following planning cycles and during and/or at the end of planning cycles.

What feedback does SCAG provide?

Meeting reports, public comment and response reports, analyses on the impact of public response and a web-based public comment database.

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SECTION V. INTERESTED PARTIES

To encourage involvement of a broad range of interested parties in the RTP/SCS planning process, SCAG intends to target the following participants in the region:

  • affected public agencies
  • affordable housing advocates
  • business organizations
  • City Managers
  • commercial property interests
  • educational institutions
  • elderly and retired persons
  • elected officials
  • environmental advocates
  • freight shippers
  • general public
  • governmental agencies and non-profit organizations that receive Federal assistance from a source other than the Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide non-emergency transportation services and recipients of assistance under section 204 of Title 23 U.S.C.
  • home builder representatives
  • homeowner associations
  • landowners
  • limited English proficiency populations
  • minority and low-income populations
  • neighborhood and community groups
  • organizations serving rural area residents
  • other interested parties
  • private providers of transportation
  • private sector
  • providers of freight transportation services
  • representatives of the disabled
  • representatives of transportation agency employees
  • representatives of users of pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities
  • representatives of users of public transit
  • special interest non-profit agencies
  • subregional organizations
  • transit operators
  • transportation advocates
  • Tribal Governments
  • women’s organizations

The goals and procedures described in this Plan are designed to encourage participation and provide opportunities to comment on the development and approval of plans and programs prepared by SCAG that statutorily require public participation or for which the Regional Council determines is necessary.

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SECTION VI. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PLAN REQUIREMENTS

As the MPO designated for the six-county metropolitan planning area (MPA), SCAG is responsible under federal and state transportation planning law, to develop a metropolitan transportation plan, referred to by SCAG as the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and a transportation improvement program (TIP), referred to as the Federal Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP).

The 2005 “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users” (SAFETEA-LU) set forth public participation requirements for MPOs in developing these transportation plans. Specifically, SAFETEA-LU required MPOs to develop, in collaboration with interested parties, a Public Participation Plan that would provide reasonable opportunities for all parties to participate and comment on regional transportation plans. The transportation reauthorization bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) continues an emphasis on providing early and continuous opportunities for public involvement.

While transportation planning is a core component of SCAG’s activities, SCAG integrates transportation planning into a broader comprehensive effort including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Associated planning activities include land use planning, regional housing needs assessments, growth forecasts and more.

In carrying out its planning work, SCAG must comply with federal metropolitan planning law and regulations (23 U.S.C. Section 134 et seq. and 23 CFR Part 450 et seq.), state transportation planning law (Cal Gov. Code Section 65080 et seq.) which incorporates the requirements of California Senate Bill 375 (Steinberg 2008). SCAG is further committed to developing and updating its regional transportation plans in accordance with the following requirements, including but not limited to: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Guidelines; Federal Clean Air; American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA); Title VI of the Civil Rights Act; Executive Order 12898 regarding Environmental Justice; Executive Order 13166 regarding Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency; Executive Order 13175 regarding Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes.

In order to best meet the needs of our constituents, SCAG will use the Public Participation Plan as a guiding document for the agency.

Federal Planning Requirements

SCAG’s Public Participation Plan must comply with the following federal planning regulations set forth under 23 C.F.R. Section 450.316:

(a) The MPO shall develop and use a documented participation plan that defines a process for providing citizens, affected public agencies, representatives of public transportation employees, freight shippers, providers of freight transportation services, private providers of transportation, representatives of users of public transportation, representatives of users of pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities, representatives of the disabled, business and other interested parties with reasonable opportunities to be involved in the metropolitan transportation planning process.

(1) The participation plan shall be developed by the MPO in consultation with all interested parties and shall, at a minimum, describe explicit procedures, strategies, and desired outcomes for:

(i) Providing adequate public notice of public participation activities and time for public review and comment at key decision points, including but not limited to a reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposed metropolitan transportation plan and the TIP;

(ii) Providing timely notice and reasonable access to information about transportation issues and processes;

(iii) Employing visualization techniques to describe metropolitan transportation plans and TIPs;

(iv) Making public information (technical information and meeting notices) available in electronically accessible formats and means, such as the World Wide Web;

(v) Holding any public meetings at convenient and accessible locations and times;

(vi) Demonstrating explicit consideration and response to public input received during the development of the metropolitan transportation plan and the TIP;

(vii) Seeking out and considering the needs of those traditionally underserved by existing transportation systems, such as low-income and minority households, who may face challenges accessing employment and other services;

(viii) Providing an additional opportunity for public comment, if the final metropolitan transportation plan or TIP differs significantly from the version that was made available for public comment by SCAG and raises new material issues which interested parties could not reasonably have foreseen from the public involvement efforts;

Coordinating with the statewide transportation planning public involvement and consultation processes under subpart B of this part [regarding Consultation]; and

(x) Periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the procedures and strategies contained in the participation plan to ensure a full and open participation process.

(2) When significant written and oral comments are received on the draft metropolitan transportation plan and TIP (including the financial plans) as a result of the participation process in this section or the interagency consultation process required under the EPA transportation conformity regulations (40 CFR part 93), a summary, analysis, and report on the disposition of comments shall be made as part of the final metropolitan transportation plan and TIP.

(3) A minimum public comment period of 45 calendar days shall be provided before the initial or revised participation plan is adopted by SCAG. Copies of the approved participation plan shall be provided to the FHWA and the FTA for informational purposes and shall be posted on the World Wide Web, to the maximum extent practicable.

State Planning Requirements

The public participation plan further addresses state public participation requirements under California Government Code Section 65080(b)(2)(F), relating to the development of the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) and an Alternative Planning Strategy (APS), if one is prepared, that includes the following components, in summary:

  1. Outreach efforts to encourage the active participation of a broad range of stakeholder groups in the planning process, consistent with SCAG’s adopted Public Participation Plan;
  2. Consultation with congestion management agencies, transportation agencies, and transportation commissions;
  3. Workshops throughout the region to provide the public with the information and tools necessary to provide a clear understanding of the issues and policy choices;
  4. Preparation and circulation of a draft SCS and APS, if one is prepared, not less than 55 days before adoption of a final RTP;

     

  5. At least three public hearings on the draft SCS in the RTP and APS, if one is prepared, held in different parts of the region, if feasible;
  6. A minimum of three public workshops in each county with a population of 500,000 or more; and
  7. A process for enabling members of the public to provide a single request to receive notices, information and updates.

Further, SB 375 requires that SCAG conduct at least two informational meetings in each county within the region for members of the board of supervisors and city councils on the SCS and APS, if any. The purpose of the meeting shall be to present a draft of the SCS to the members of the board of supervisors and city council members in that county and to solicit and consider their input and recommendations.

SCAG has addressed the requirement concerning an expanded list of stakeholder groups under the Interested Parties section of this plan, and integrated the above requirements with its participation procedures for the regional transportation planning process. See attached Appendix “A.”

Consultation Requirements & Activities

SCAG must consult, as appropriate, with State and local agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation, and historic preservation concerning the development of the RTP. The consultation shall involve, as appropriate:

  1. Comparison of transportation plans with State conservation plans or maps, if available; or
  2. Comparison of transportation plans to inventories of natural or historic resources, if available. See 23 U.S.C Section 134(i)(5).

SCAG’s consultation requirements under federal planning regulations are set forth under 23 C.F.R. Section 450.316(b)-(e) as follows:

(b) In developing metropolitan transportation plans and TIPs, the MPO should consult with agencies and officials responsible for other planning activities within the MPA that are affected by transportation (including State and local planned growth, economic development, environmental protection, airport operations, or freight movements) or coordinate its planning process (to the maximum extent practicable) with such planning activities. In addition, metropolitan transportation plans and TIPs shall be developed with due consideration of other related planning activities within the metropolitan area, and the process shall provide for the design and delivery of transportation services within the areas that are provided by:

(1) Recipients of assistance under title 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53;

(2) Governmental agencies and non-profit organizations (including representatives of the agencies and organizations) that receive Federal assistance from a source other than the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide non-emergency transportation services; and

(3) Recipients of assistance under 23 U.S.C. 204.

(c) When the MPA includes Indian Tribal lands, the MPO shall appropriately involve Indian Tribal government(s) in the development of the metropolitan transportation plan and the TIP.

(d) When the MPA includes Federal public lands, the MPO shall appropriately involve the Federal land management agencies in the development of the metropolitan transportation plan and TIP.

(e) MPOs shall, to the extent practicable, develop a documented process(es) that outlines roles, responsibilities, and key decision points for consulting with other governments and agencies, as defined in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section, which may be included in the agreement(s) developed under Section 450.314 [metropolitan planning agreements].

Consultation activities are accomplished primarily through our policy committees, other committees, subcommittees, task forces, and working groups. Policy committees are primarily made up of local elected officials. There are several issue-specific as well as mode-specific committees, subcommittees, task forces and working groups that are on-going as well as some that are created for a specific purpose and specific timeframe. All of these groups provide input to SCAG who thereafter forwards their recommendations to the policy committees. Examples include the Aviation Technical Advisory Committee, Technical Working Group, Transit Technical Advisory Committee, Modeling Task Force, and Transportation Conformity Working Group. (TCWG). Subsequent to the adoption of the 2012-2035 RTP/SCS SCAG convened six subcommittees: Active Transportation, Goods Movement, High-Speed Rail and Transit, Public Health, Sustainability, and Transportation Finance. These subcommittees were formed to follow up on implementing the 2012-2035 RTP/SCS and to help guide development of the 2016-2040 RTP/SCS. These subcommittees completed their work and reported to the SCAG Policy Committees in 2013. Membership on these groups includes elected officials as well as stakeholder agency representatives. The stakeholders have a direct pipeline to SCAG's planning processes through these groups.

In addition, SCAG conducts meetings with all 191 member city managers and provides individual city council briefings when requested. Also, SCAG conducts several workshops prior to releasing the Draft RTP/SCS involving stakeholders to ensure that their input on major issues is addressed in the plan.

SCAG also utilizes the subregional council of governments (COG) structure to get the word out and solicit input on the content as well as the planning and programming process from local stakeholders.

SCAG mails out a notice of the Draft RTP and FTIP availability to the stakeholders at the local, state and federal level to solicit their comment and input to the final RTP and FTIP. Comments as well as responses are fully documented and reflected in the final RTP.

SCAG engages Tribal Governments in the RTP and FTIP processes through Tribal Government representation on SCAG’s governing board and policy committees.

Bottom-Up Planning and Interagency Consultation

SCAG’s 86-member Regional Council coordinates regularly with the 15 subregions in conducting its regional planning work. These forums, coupled with three policy committees, numerous standing committees and technical advisory committees, and the “AB 1246 process” (required under Public Utilities Code Section 130000 et seq.) facilitate SCAG’s ability to provide a framework for bottom-up planning and more frequent and ongoing participation by interested parties at all stages of the process.

Within the AB 1246 process, the multi-county designated transportation planning agency shall convene at least two meetings annually of representatives from each of the four commissions, the agency, and the Department of Transportation for the purposes below. The region wide Transportation Agencies CEOs Group is currently fulfilling the function of the AB 1246 process.

  1. To review and discuss the near-term transportation improvement programs prior to adoption by the commissions.
  2. To review and discuss the Regional Transportation Plan prior to adoption by the agency pursuant to Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 65080) of Title 7 of the Government Code.
  3. To consider progress in the development of a region wide and unified public transit system.
  4. To review and discuss any other matter of mutual concern.

SCAG has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) on transportation and air quality conformity consultation procedures for the South Coast Air Basin and for the Riverside County portions of the Salton Sea Air Basin and the Mojave Desert Air Basin. Parties to the MOU include: SCAQMD, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Orange County Transportation Authority, Riverside County Transportation Commission, San Bernardino Associated Governments, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), California Air Resource Board, and the Federal Highway Administration., and the Federal Transit Administration.

Likewise, SCAG has an MOU for transportation and air quality conformity consultation procedures with the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD) for the Ventura County portion of the South Central Coast Air Basin (SCCAB). Parties to the MOU include: VCAPCD, Ventura County Transportation Commission, Caltrans, California Air Resources Board, Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

To support interagency coordination and fulfill the interagency consultation requirements of the Federal Transportation Conformity Rule, SCAG hosts and participates in the Transportation Conformity Working Group (TCWG). The group meets on a monthly basis to address and resolve regional issues pertaining to transportation conformity for the RTP and FTIP; RTP and TIP amendments; and the region's air quality management plans. TCWG also is the forum for interagency consultation on project-level PM hot-spot analysis. SCAG serves as the regional PM hot spot analysis clearinghouse and maintains records on all projects on the TCWG website.

Participants in the Southern California TCWG include representatives from federal, state, regional and sub-regional agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (both national and regional representatives), Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, Air Quality Management Districts, County Transportation Commissions, Transportation Corridor Agencies, and SCAG.

Title VI and Environmental Justice

Consideration of Environmental Justice in the transportation planning process stems from Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ( Title VI). Title VI establishes the need for transportation agencies to disclose to the public the benefits and burdens of proposed projects on minority populations. Title VI states that “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Additionally, Title VI not only bars intentional discrimination, but also unjustified disparate impact discrimination. Disparate impacts result from policies and practices that are neutral on their face (i.e., there is no evidence of intentional discrimination), but have the effect of discrimination on protected groups. The understanding of civil rights has expanded to include low-income communities, as further described below.

In the 1990’s, the federal executive branch issued orders on Environmental Justice that amplified Title VI, in part by providing protections on the basis of income as well as race. These directives, which included President Clinton’s Executive Order 12898 (1994) and subsequent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) orders (1997 and 1998, respectively), along with a 1999 DOT guidance memorandum, ordered every federal agency to make Environmental Justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing the effects of all programs, policies and activities on underrepresented groups and low-income populations. Reinforcing Title VI, these measures ensure that every federally funded project nationwide consider the human environment when undertaking the planning and decision-making process.

On August 4, 2011, seventeen federal agencies signed the “Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898.” The signatories, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), agreed to develop Environmental Justice strategies to protect the health of people living in communities overburdened by pollution and to provide the public with annual progress reports on their efforts. The MOU advances agency responsibilities outlined in the 1994 Executive Order 12898 and directs each of the Federal agencies to make Environmental Justice part of its mission and to work with other agencies on Environmental Justice issues as members of the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice.

In response to this MOU, DOT revised its Environmental Justice Strategy. The revisions reinforce the DOT’s programs and policies related to Environmental Justice and strengthen its efforts to outreach to minority and low-income populations. In addition, in July 2012 the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) issued two Circulars on Title VI and Environmental Justice to clarify the requirements and offer guidance. FTA Circular 4702.1A, Title VI Requirements and Guidelines for Federal Transit Administration Recipients provides information required in the Title VI Program, changes the reporting requirement from every four years to every three years, and adds a requirement for mapping and charts to analyze the impacts of the distribution of State and Federal public transportation funds. The FTA Circular 4703.1, Environmental Justice Policy Guidance for Federal Transit Administration Recipients (Docket number FTA-2011-0055) provides recommendations to MPOs (and other recipients of FTA funds) on how to fully engage Environmental Justice populations in the public transportation decision-making process; how to determine whether Environmental Justice populations would be subjected to disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects as a result of a transportation plan, project, or activity; and how to avoid, minimize, or mitigate these effects. The Circular does not contain any new requirements, policies or directives. Nonetheless, SCAG complies with the framework provided to integrate the principles of Environmental Justice into its decision-making processes.

Under federal policy, all federally funded agencies must make Environmental Justice part of their mission and adhere to three fundamental Title VI/Environmental Justice principles:

  • To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.
  • To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.
  • To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.

In addition to Federal requirements, SCAG must comply with California Government Code Section 11135, which states that, “no person in the State of California shall, on the basis of race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, or disability, be unlawfully denied full and equal access to the benefits of, or be unlawfully subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity that is conducted, operated, or administered by the state or by any state agency that is funded directly by the state, or receives any financial assistance from the state.”

The State of California also provides guidance for those involved in transportation decision-making to address Environmental Justice. In 2003, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) published the Desk Guide on Environmental Justice in Transportation Planning and Investments to provide information and examples of ways to promote Environmental Justice. The Desk Guide identified requirements for public agencies, guidance on impact analyses, recommendations for public involvement, and mitigation.

Finally, SCAG has in place a Title VI Program which was approved by FTA on February 22, 2012. The Title VI Program includes a process for investigating Title VI complaints as well as a copy of the agency’s Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Outreach Plan. The key elements of the LEP Plan include: (1) Spanish speaking translators available upon request for meeting and workshops; (2) selected RTP materials available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean languages; and (3) utilization of a specialty outreach consultant to engage with the LEP and minority communities. SCAG will continue these efforts for the 2016 RTP/SCS cycle. SCAG will also be updating the Title VI Program and LEP Plan in the fall of 2014 as required by federal regulation. More information about the agency’s Title VI Program and LEP Plan is available on the SCAG website at: http://www.scag.ca.gov/participate/Pages/CivilRights.aspx.

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SECTION VII. ACCOUNTABILITY

SCAG’s plans and policies are adopted by the Regional Council, an 86-member governing board of elected officials and representatives from Tribal governments, County Transportation Commissions and air quality districts. Therefore, SCAG’s Public Participation Plan and its associated public outreach efforts are accountable to local representatives.

The participation procedures, strategies and goals incorporated into this Plan are intended to provide interested parties with reasonable opportunities to be involved in the metropolitan transportation planning and programming processes. The Plan contains an expanded list of Interested Parties to encourage participation of a broad range of stakeholders. Additionally, SCAG is required to consult with state, local, and Tribal governments in the development of its RTPs and FTIPs. SCAG is specifically required to consult with agencies and officials responsible for other planning activities within the region that are affected by SCAG’s RTP and FTIP (including, as appropriate, state and local agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation, and historic preservation).

This Plan is intended to guide the participation process and to coordinate the process with SCAG’s consultation activities and other responsibilities. Detailed strategies, procedures and techniques for carrying out the participation process for the RTP, FTIP and Overall Work Program (OWP), are described in “Appendix A” of this Plan, and incorporated herein by this reference.

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SECTION VIII. CONCLUSION

With 38,000 square miles, six counties, 191 cities and a population of 18 million residents, the SCAG region is among the largest and most diverse in the world, with wide-ranging socio-economic factors, languages, ethnicities and cultures. Residents in different parts of the region have very diverse interests and concerns. SCAG helps engage those diverse needs through a constructive dialog, resulting in comprehensive plans that enhance the overall quality of life in the region.

SCAG is committed to a public participation process that involves participation from conception to implementation. SCAG provides information to stakeholders, partners and the general public in order to make informed decisions regarding Southern California’s physical capital. SCAG provides opportunities for the public to evaluate and respond to that information and considers all input before finalizing any transportation planning policies that will impact the SCAG region.

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SECTION IX. APPENDIX A

Strategies, Procedures and Techniques for Public Participation Related to the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), Federal Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP) and Overall Work Program (OWP)

SCAG’s adopted Public Participation Plan (“Plan”) serves as a guide for SCAG’s public involvement process as well as the continuing, comprehensive and coordinated planning process among the stakeholders to ensure the ongoing opportunity for broad-based participation in the development and review of regional plans and programs. For purposes of the Plan, “public” is intended to mean “Interested Parties” including general public, affected public agencies, and other interested parties as identified in the Plan.

This Appendix “A” to the adopted Public Participation Plan provides more explicit details as to SCAG’s strategies, procedures and techniques for public participation on the RTP, RTIP and OWP. The interrelated goals identified in the Plan suggest that a coordinated approach to public outreach is best in seeking to spread a consistent message and increase public awareness of SCAG’s planning efforts. SCAG seeks the public’s feedback, active participation and input in developing its plans and programs.

DEVELOPMENT OF STRATEGIES, PROCEDURES AND TECHNIQUES

SCAG staff consults a wide range of interested parties to fulfill federal and state requirements in developing public participation strategies, procedures and techniques. SCAG makes significant efforts to reach out to interested parties, encourage feedback, and involve interested parties in the development of the Plan’s strategies and procedures and will continue these efforts in future updates to the Plan. Specifically, SCAG solicited comments and feedback from the county transportation commissions, the subregions, transit operators, federal and state resource agencies, Tribal Governments, representatives of the disabled, the business community, active transportation advocates, environmental groups, and other interested parties through mailings, email correspondence, workshops, presentations, meetings, telephone communications and website postings encouraging individuals to get involved with developing the Public Participation Plan. In developing the 2014 Public Participation Plan, SCAG conducted a survey of individuals who attended SCAG’s public outreach workshops for the 2012-2035 RTP/SCS. The survey asked several questions to help SCAG determine how to improve public participation. SCAG solicits feedback year round through the availability of an online form on the SCAG website on the Contact Us page at: http://www.scag.ca.gov/about/Pages/ContactUs.aspx and the Public Participation page at: http://www.scag.ca.gov/participate/Pages/PublicComment.aspx. SCAG also solicits feedback through a SCAG Contact Form in the PDF download version.

REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN (RTP)

Federal and state laws require SCAG to prepare a long-range Regional Transportation Plan, or RTP. The purpose of the RTP is to combine transportation policies and projects to lay out the blueprint for Southern California's transportation network and how it can best handle the needs of the future. The RTP coordinates a balanced regional transportation system, identifies adequate funding for transportation projects, and meet federal air quality requirements.

An update of an existing RTP is required every four years, and SCAG is currently undertaking the development of the 2016 RTP/SCS to provide Southern California with a comprehensive vision for its transportation future to the year 2040.

State law SB 375 requires SCAG and other MPOs to engage the region in the development process of the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) and/or an Alternative Planning Strategy (APS) through outreach efforts and a series of workshops and public hearings. For the SCAG region these workshops and public hearings include workshops for local elected officials and workshops in each county in the region (at least 16 public workshops.) SCAG will also conduct public hearings on the Draft RTP/SCS in different parts of the region.

1. Phase 1: Pre-Draft 2016 RTP/SCS (January 2013 – November 2015 )

A. Hold Regular Outreach and RTP/SCS Coordination Team Meetings: (January 2013 – November 2015).
While outreach activities have been ongoing since the adopted 2012 RTP, the single most important element to fostering and maintaining a fully-integrated agency outreach effort is to schedule and hold regular coordination meetings with the principal staff in all planning areas and consultants associated with each of the various outreach efforts.

I. Outreach and SB 375 coordination meetings will provide important opportunities (1) to brief all members of the coordination team on overall goals and strategies; (2) to inform the team of upcoming outreach forums and other key milestones; (3) to identify strategies and specific work tasks that can either be shared or can accommodate multiple outreach objectives; and (4) Ensure all outreach events are being entered on SCAG’s outreach calendar in a timely manner for public notice as well as documentation of SCAG’s outreach history.

II. SB 375 allows sub-regional agencies to prepare a Sustainable Communities Strategy or Alternative Planning Strategy for their subregional area for incorporation into the regional strategy. SCAG’s responsibility, as described in this Plan, is to conduct outreach in accordance with statutory requirements for the regional SCS and/or APS.

B. Initiate a Bottom-Up Local Input Process for the 2016 RTP/SCS: (March 2013 – September 2014) A critical component to the success of the RTP/SCS will be the participation and cooperation of all 197 local government partners within the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). To this end, SCAG staff is working to ensure that all local governments are fully informed of the planning process and have clear and adequate opportunities to provide input.

I. Early in the planning process, SCAG staff sought input from local jurisdictions on baseline conditions throughout the region, including existing and planned land use, along with current demographic estimates and projections. SCAG’s geographic datasets were published in individual Map Books, which were created for each local jurisdiction and distributed initially in August of 2013. For the second version of the booklets, initial revisions from jurisdictions were integrated, as were SCAG’s demographic datasets showing population, household, and employment estimates for 2012 and projections for years 2020, 2035, and 2040. These new Data/Map Books were distributed to Local Jurisdictions in November and December of 2013, and are open for comments at this time.

II. To further solicit local input and actively engage participation in the formation of these datasets, SCAG staff have reached out to each jurisdiction’s city/county manager, planning director, and elected officials to outline the process and schedule for providing input, have presented at meetings of SCAG’s policy committees and at the standing meetings of several of our subregional partners, and plan to meet individually with 197 local jurisdictions during the months of January to May of 2014.

III. After this initial period of engagement is completed in May 2014, SCAG staff will be initiating scenario planning exercises with cities and counties for use in the 2016 RTP/SCS through September 2014

C. Public Workshops: (June 2014 – November 2015).
SCAG will conduct at least two public workshops in each county of the region, except for Imperial County, where one workshop will be conducted. These workshops will provide the public with a clear understanding of the issues and policy choices and will employ various visualization techniques. SCAG will also allow for members of the public to receive all notices, information, and updates through a single request.
Additional public workshops will be held, as needed, in accordance with applicable requirements.

D. Environmental Justice Outreach: (March 2014 – March 2015)

SCAG will engage the Environmental Justice community by the following outreach efforts:

  • March 2014 – 1st Environmental Justice (EJ) workshop to discuss SCAG’s EJ program and major planning areas in the 2016 RTP/SCS cycle, and summarize and build on previous efforts for the 2012 RTP/SCS.
  • September 2014 – Report on SCAG’s plan for addressing EJ concerns that may arise from the 2016 RTP/SCS.
  • September 2015 – Release SCAG’s draft EJ Appendix for the 2016 RTP/SCS and go over analysis and process for providing comments on the Plan

 

E. Update Contact Databases and Advisory Groups: (May 2013 – November 2015).

I. Review and update mailing lists for outreach efforts.

II. Expand contact databases to include representatives of all Interested Parties identified in the Plan.

III. Work with stakeholders to expand current list categories to include all Interested Parties.

IV. Convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Group. This group would include representatives of community-based organizations, non-profits, and Tribal Governments from all parts of the SCAG region.

V. Update media mailing lists that include metropolitan and local community newspapers, radio, television and cable outlets, trade journals, wire services, ethnic and foreign-language media, government and legal publications and special interest press directed at older audiences, the disabled, Native Americans and students.

F. Update Existing Presentation Materials: (January 2014 – October 2015). Communications staff will continue to work closely with Planning staff to ensure a consistent look and message for all of SCAG’s communications.

I. Provide clear, consistent and concise primary messages for media and public involvement and interaction.

II. Update technical and non-technical PowerPoint presentations as new information becomes available.

III. Tailor specific presentations to meet the needs and interests of the target audiences.

IV. Maintain a library of all PowerPoint presentations developed.

V. Review and update Fact Sheets.

VI. Review and update brochures, fliers and other publications relating to SCAG and SCAG’s initiatives for general population distribution in concise, understandable, non-technical language.

VII. Review and update public feedback forms, both paper and web-based.

VIII. Review and enhance web interface to encourage public education and feedback on the related planning efforts.

IX. Include articles on plans and programs in SCAG’s e-newsletters, produced monthly.

G. Create New Presentation Materials: January 2014 – October 2015

I. Develop new materials to simplify the RTP and cater to subregional audiences. Traditionally, interested parties raise questions about proposed projects in their specific community. Materials that visually highlight the most prominent features of the Plan and are most relevant to audiences will most likely be read and recalled.

II. Produce the RTP on a CD to ease handling and ensure more efficient use of resources.

III. Prepare press releases, calendar advisories, notices of public hearings (in one major newspaper in each of the six counties), and reach out to the ethnic press by providing notices in English, Spanish and Chinese.

IV. Utilize visualization techniques whenever possible such as maps, videos, PowerPoint presentations with graphics and animation, flowcharts, computer simulation, interactive GIS systems, and illustrative drawings to better and more easily communicate technical planning issues and strategies.

V. Explore new opportunities using state-of-the-art communications and information technology for reaching remote audiences i.e. SCAG’s Regional Offices, video conference, web meetings twitter, wiki, and surveys.

H. Continually Enhance Website Capabilities: (January 2013 – October 2015).

I. Update recently-created web pages dedicated to the RTP, enhance navigation, and ensure information is up-to-date. Link to stakeholder web pages.

II. Translate key RTP communications in English, Spanish, and Chinese on the web pages.

III. Utilize SCAG’s web site to provide information, announce draft and final plan releases, encourage feedback and comments from the public, make draft and final plans and corresponding documents available, provide contact information, educate about SCAG and SCAG initiatives, inform of upcoming events and meetings, post meeting agendas and minutes and provide access to major SCAG publications including Your Guide to SCAG, key PowerPoint presentations, data and other planning-related information.

IV. Ensure that the information available is timely, easy-to-understand and accessible and that the website is compliant with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

I. Coordinate Outreach Efforts with other Stakeholder Organizations: (January 2014 – October 2015).

I. Support interagency coordination by continuing to host and participate in the monthly TCWG meetings.

II. Mail Notice of Draft RTP availability to the stakeholders at the local, state and federal level to solicit their comment and input to the final RTP. Ensure that the public comment period is at least 55 days for the plan.

III. Participate in regular monthly meetings with the CEOs of the county transportation commissions.

IV. Coordinate outreach efforts with the subregional organizations and transportation and air quality agencies.

V. Together with subregional partners and other stakeholder organizations, notify interested parties through traditional meeting announcements, newspapers, public service announcements, press releases, special mailers, publications and agendas of committees, meetings, workshops, briefings, web site postings, email communications and other opportunities to participate, as appropriate.

VI. Expand the membership of some of SCAG’s various committees, task forces and working groups to ensure inclusion of the broader stakeholders and interest groups identified in the Plan.

VII. Keep interested parties informed with monthly progress reports during the plan development phase.

J. Maintain and create an Outreach Schedule: (January 2014 – October 2015).

I. Continue the practice of attempting to get on other groups’ agendas.

II. Conduct presentations, hold briefings, workshops, hearings to diverse groups and organizations throughout the region.

III. Hold public meetings at convenient and accessible locations and times.

K. Maintain a Log of Outreach Efforts: (January 2013 – October 2015).

I. Maintain a log of all agency-wide outreach presentations.

L. Reach Out to Traditionally Underrepresented and/or Underserved Communities (January 2014 – October 2015).

I. Work with Regional Services staff and Subregional Coordinators to identify underrepresented segments of the region.

II. Coordinate with individuals, institutions or organizations to reach out to members in minority and/or low income communities.

III. Provide assistance, if requested 72 hours prior to the event, to people with disabilities.

IV. Provide language assistance, if requested 72 hours prior to the event, to Limited English Proficient Persons.

V. Explore new opportunities using state-of-the-art communications and information technology for reaching remote audiences.

M. Evaluate Public Participation Activities: (November 2015).

I. Evaluate public participation efforts at the end of phase 1 so that necessary modifications can be made for subsequent phases.

II. Provide recommendations to enhance the outreach program and better serve the underrepresented segments of the region.

2. Phase 2: Post- Draft 2016 RTP/SCS (October 2015 – March 2016)

A. Notify public of the Draft Release (October 2015)

I. Draft RTP/SCS is released for a minimum 55-day public review and comment period.

II. Draft RTP/SCS is reviewed by SCAG’s Transportation Committee and Community, Economic and Human Development Committee as part of a public meeting.

III. Develop procedures for public hearings. Include the time to be allotted to each speaker and how the order of appearance is determined. A written explanation of adopted procedures should be distributed to participants both prior to and at the hearing. Make arrangements for the submission of written statements in addition to verbal comments.

IV. Provide translation services at these public hearings, if needed.

B. Consider and Incorporate Comments Received into the Deliberations Regarding the Draft Plans and Programs: (October 2015 – March 2016).

I. Review and consider all public comments in the regional transportation planning process.

II. Record, track and maintain a log of comments and SCAG’s response to the comments.

III. Acknowledge all significant comments received in a timely manner.

IV. Evaluate public comments received throughout the planning process and assess whether, and to what extent, modifications were made in the draft documents as a result of the comments received.

V. Provide additional opportunity for public comment on the revised plan if the final plan differs significantly from the draft plan that was previously made public.

VI. Provide a summary, analysis and report on the disposition of comments as part of the final plan.

VII. Prepare Final RTP for adoption by Regional Council at a public meeting.

C. Elected Official Meetings: (January 2016 – February 2016).
SCAG will conduct informational meetings in each county for members of the Board of Supervisors and City Councils in the respective county to consider and provide input on the Draft 2012 RTP/SCS. The purpose of the meetings is to present the Draft RTP/SCS to the members of the board of supervisors and the city council members in each county and to solicit and consider their input and recommendations.
Notice of the meetings shall be sent to the clerk of the board of supervisors and to each city clerk.

D. Public Hearings: (January 2016 – February 2016).
SCAG will conduct at least three public hearings in different parts of the region on the Draft RTP/SCS to maximize the opportunity for participation. The public hearings will be announced in printed materials, on SCAG’s website, and in local newspapers.

E. Continually Enhance Website Capabilities: (October 2015 – March 2016).

I. Continue to utilize SCAG’s web site to provide information, announce draft and final plan releases, encourage feedback and comments from the public, make draft and final plans and corresponding documents available, provide contact information, educate about SCAG and SCAG initiatives, inform of upcoming events and meetings, post meeting agendas and minutes and provide access to major SCAG publications including Your Guide to SCAG, the Benefits of Membership, Member Handbook, the Legislative Reference Guide, the e- newsletter, key PowerPoint presentations, data and other planning-related information.

II. Ensure that the information available is timely, easy-to-understand and accessible and that the website is compliant with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

F. Update Contact Databases and Advisory Groups:
(October 2015 – March 2016).

I. Review and update mailing lists for outreach efforts.

II. Expand contact databases to include all Interested Parties identified in the Plan.

III. Work with subregional coordinators and SCAG task force and committee members to expand current list categories to include all Interested Parties.

IV. Update media mailing lists that include metropolitan and local community newspapers, radio, television and cable outlets, trade journals, wire services, ethnic and foreign-language media, government and legal publications and special interest press directed at older audiences, the disabled, Native Americans and students.

G. Coordinate Outreach Efforts with other Stakeholder Organizations: (October 2015 – March 2016).

I. Support interagency coordination by continuing to host and participate in the monthly TCWG meetings.

II. Participate in regular monthly meetings with the CEOs of the county transportation commissions.

III. Participate in and conduct two City Manager meetings

IV. Coordinate outreach efforts with the subregional organizations and transportation and air quality agencies.

V. Together with subregional partners and other stakeholder organizations, notify interested parties through traditional meeting announcements, newspapers, public service announcements, press releases, special mailers, publications and agendas of committees, meetings, workshops, briefings, website postings, email communications and other opportunities to participate, as appropriate.

VI. Hold monthly meetings with the Technical Working Group to review upcoming Regional Council and Policy Committee agendas and conduct other coordinating activities.

VII. Keep interested parties informed with monthly progress reports during the post-draft plan development phase.

H. Maintain an Outreach Schedule: (October 2015 – March 2016).

I. Proactively contact groups to schedule speakers from the pool of available speakers, as appropriate, to meet the interests of the particular group.

II. Continue the practice of attempting to get on other groups’ agendas.

III. Conduct presentations, hold briefings, workshops, hearings to diverse groups and organizations throughout the region.

IV. Hold public meetings at convenient and accessible locations and times.

I. Maintain a Log of Outreach Efforts: (October 2015 – March 2016).

I. Continue to maintain a log of all agency-wide outreach presentations.

J. Reach Out to Traditionally Underrepresented and/or Underserved Audiences: (October 2015 – February 2016).

I. Work with Regional Services staff and stakeholders to identify underrepresented segments of the region.

II. Coordinate with individuals, institutions or organizations to reach out to members in minority and/or low income communities.

III. Engage Tribal Government in the RTP processes through Tribal Government representation on SCAG’s governing board and policy committees.

IV. Provide assistance, if requested 72 hours prior to the event, to people with disabilities.

V. Prepare press releases and reach out to the ethnic press by providing notices in English, Spanish and Chinese.

VI. Provide language assistance, if requested 72 hours prior to the event, to Limited English Proficient Persons.

VII. Explore new opportunities using state-of-the-art communications and information technology for reaching remote audiences.

3. Phase 3: Post- Final 2016 RTP/SCS (April 2016 – September 2016)

A. Create New Presentation Materials: (April 2016 – September 2016).

I. Create a final factsheet or brochure which visually showcases regional projects of significance, economic impacts, mobility improvements and health impacts. Highlights of the plan will be summarized to peak interest and enhance readability.

II. Produce the RTP on a CD to ease handling and ensure more efficient use of resources.

III. Utilize visualization techniques whenever possible such as maps, videos, PowerPoint presentations with graphics and animation, flowcharts, computer simulation, interactive GIS systems, and illustrative drawings to better and more easily communicate technical planning issues and strategies.

IV. Explore new opportunities using state-of-the-art communications and information technology for reaching remote audiences.

B. Continually Enhance Website Capabilities: (April 2016 – September 2016).

I. Maintain web pages dedicated to the RTP and ensure information is up-to-date.

II. Translate key RTP communications in English, Spanish and Chinese on the web pages.

III. Utilize SCAG’s website to provide information, announce final plan releases, encourage feedback and comments from the public, make draft and final plans and corresponding documents available, provide contact information, educate about SCAG and SCAG initiatives, inform of upcoming events and meetings,

IV. Ensure that the information available is timely, easy-to-understand and accessible and that the website is compliant with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

C. Update Contact Databases and Advisory Groups:
(April 2016 – September 2016).

I. Review and update mailing lists for outreach efforts.

II. Expand contact databases to include all Interested Parties identified in the Plan.

III. Work with subregional coordinators and SCAG task force and committee members to expand current list categories to include all Interested Parties.

D. Evaluate Public Participation Activities: (April 2016 – September 2016).

I. Continue to monitor outreach presentations and assess whether outreach efforts are being conducted throughout the region, including the outlying areas of the region.

E. RTP Amendments

I. An amendment is a major revision to a long-range RTP, including adding or deleting a project, major changes in project/project phase costs, initiation dates, and/or design concepts and scope. An RTP Amendment requires public review and comment, demonstration that the project can be completed based on expected funding, and a determination that the change conforms to air quality requirements.

II. SCAG’s strategies, procedures and techniques for public participation regarding RTP Amendments include, but are not limited to, the release of the proposed RTP amendment for a minimum 30-day public review, posting of the proposed RTP amendment on SCAG’s website, presentation of the proposed RTP amendment before certain SCAG committees, review of the proposed RTP amendment by SCAG’s Transportation and Communications Committee at a public meeting, and adoption of the proposed RTP amendment by SCAG’s Regional Council as part of the public meeting.

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

SCAG’s Federal Transportation Improvement Program, or FTIP, is a capital listing of all transportation projects proposed over a six-year period. The listing identifies specific funding sources and funding amounts for each project. The proposed transportation projects are funded through a variety of federal, state and local sources. Projects consist of improvements such as, highway improvements, transit, rail, bus, high occupancy vehicle lanes, signal synchronization, intersection improvements, and freeway ramps to name a few. The FTIP must include all transportation projects that are federally funded, and/or regionally significant regardless of funding source or whether subject to any federal action. The projects are submitted to SCAG by the six County Transportation Commissions. SCAG analyzes the projects to ensure that they are consistent with state and federal requirements. Federal law requires the FTIP be consistent with the RTP.

The following outlines SCAG’s strategies, procedures and techniques for public participation on the FTIP. SCAG intends to update this section of the Appendix as needed prior to commencing each FTIP cycle to reflect appropriate changes.

1. FTIP Public Participation Process in the SCAG Region
SCAG has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with transit operators and each of the County Transportation Commissions (CTCs) within the SCAG Region. These MOUs specify the role of the CTCs with respect to approval of transportation projects utilizing federal, state highway, and transit funds within their respective jurisdiction. The County Transportation Commissions are also responsible for transportation programming and short range planning in their respective counties. The County Transportation Commissions transmit their approved County TIP to SCAG. The public participation process and coordination is a tiered process within the SCAG region. This tiered process initiates the public participation process at the CTC’s county TIP development stage, which occurs long before the development of the SCAG FTIP.
There are several opportunities for the public to review and comment on projects and programs during the development of each county TIP and approval of the SCAG FTIP. These public participation opportunities are described below.

A. Project Identification
Public participation begins at the local agency level by identifying projects and associated work scopes based on local and regional transportation needs. Newly identified projects are commonly placed on funding needs lists, funding plans or capital improvement program plans and programs that identify projects to be funded. These lists, plans and programs are adopted by local agency boards (mostly elected officials) in meetings open to the general public. Stakeholders, interest groups and the general public have the opportunity to review and comment on these projects and local plans prior to local agency board approvals.

B. Project Funding
The general public, interested parties and stakeholders have an opportunity to review and comment on projects and programs during the allocation of funds by local agencies including cities, counties, special districts, and county transportation commissions (CTCs).
The process of assigning specific funding sources to projects normally occurs in meetings open to the general public by public policy boards. For example, the CTCs in the SCAG region conducts a “call for projects” when funding under their control (federal, state and/or local) is available for programming. Local agencies apply and compete for available funding based on adopted eligibility guidelines consistent with federal, state and local county requirements. Candidate projects usually have gone through an initial public review process and are included in a local agency capital improvement needs programs or plans. The CTCs work through their respective committee review process to develop a list of projects recommended for funding and adoption by each respective policy board. CTCs review committees are comprised of local agency staff (stakeholders and interested parties), and in some cases include public elected officials. Review committee meetings are publicly noticed. The recommended project lists approved by the committees are forwarded to the respective policy boards for approval. Projects proposed for funding are made available for review by the general public, stakeholders and interested parties in advance of adoption by the CTCs policy boards. All allocation of funds by the policy boards occur in publicly noticed meetings open to the general public.
The allocation of public funds to projects by other entities meet the public review requirements that are consistent with the federal, state and/or local laws that govern the allocation of the funds.

C. County TIP Development
The CTCs develop their respective TIPs based on FTIP Guidelines written by SCAG in consultation with the CTCs, SCAG’s TCWG, federal and state agencies staff, with approval by SCAG’s Regional Council. All projects programmed in County TIPs have been previously approved for funding by the entity responsible for allocating the project funds. When submitting County TIPs to SCAG, each CTC is required to adopt a financial resolution which certifies that it has the resources to fund the projects in the TIP and affirms its commitment to implement all projects. The financial resolution is approved by each policy board in publicly noticed meetings open to the general public.

D. SCAG FTIP Development
SCAG develops the FTIP for the six-county region based on the County TIPs prepared and submitted by the CTCs described above in Section iii. The Draft SCAG FTIP is noted for a minimum 30-day public review, and a public hearing is held at the SCAG office and where possible these public hearings will be available via video or teleconference. Notices of the public hearings are placed in newspapers throughout the SCAG region. SCAG also conducts public outreach efforts through social media outlets. The Draft SCAG FTIP documents are made available for review and comment by stakeholders, interested parties and the general public through the SCAG internet website at http://ftip.scag.ca.gov/Pages/default.aspx and at public libraries throughout the six-county region prior to the public hearing.
In addition to the public hearings, SCAG committees and working groups also review and discuss draft FTIPs. These SCAG groups include the) AB 1246 Chief Executive Officers Committee, the Transportation Committee (TC), the TCWG, and the Energy and Environment Committee (EEC) The SCAG Regional Council takes final action when they review and adopt the FTIP.

E. FTA Program of Projects
As required by federal law and guidance, a Program of Projects (POP) for FTA projects must be developed by the Designated Recipient of FTA funds. The POP is a list of proposed FTA funded projects that must undergo a public review process. Guidance provided by FTA allows the FTIP to function as the POP as long as the public is notified through SCAG’s public notice that the FTIP public review process satisfies the public participation requirements of the POP. Once the FTIP is approved, the document will function as the POP for recipients of FTA funds in the SCAG region. SCAG's public participation process for the FTIP is intended to satisfy FTA Section 5307 funding recipients' public participation process for their POP.

F. SCAG FTIP Updates
The FTIP is amended several times a year. This process is similar to developing the formal FTIP. Proposed amendments to the adopted FTIP are submitted by the CTCs to SCAG. After SCAG has completed its analysis of the proposed change(s) to the FTIP ensuring consistency with the various programming rules and regulations, SCAG electronically posts the proposed change(s) for public review and comment on the SCAG website at http://ftip.scag.ca.gov/Pages/default.aspx . In addition to posting the amendment information on the web, a notice is sent to the TCWG as part of the FTIP amendment public review process.

2. Schematic of the Public Participation Process
The following schematic helps to illustrate when stakeholders, interested parties and the general public have the opportunity to review and comment during the FTIP programming development process described above in Section 3A.

SCAG FTIP Public Participation Process

Public Review & Comment

TIP Development Process

Development of project lists requiring funding are commonly adopted by public boards in meetings open to the general public.

Project Identification
Projects are identified based on needs and placed on capital improvement programs or other lists awaiting funds.

The allocation of funds to projects commonly occurs by policy boards in publicly noticed meetings open to the general public.

Project Funding
Projects receiving state and federal funds and/or approvals and local projects determined regionally significant are identified for programming in County TIPs and the SCAG FTIP

CTCs policy boards adopt FTIP financial resolutions. Noticed public hearing is held at the SCAG office to take public input on FTIP document.

County TIPs & SCAG FTIP Development
Projects are first programmed in County TIPs and then submitted to SCAG for inclusion in the SCAG FTIP.

Proposed amendments to the FTIP are posted to the SCAG website 10 days prior to transmittal to State and Federal agencies for approval.

FTIP Updates
SCAG processes amendments to the FTIP based on changes requested by the CTCs.


 

1. Other FTIP Public Participation strategies, procedures and techniques

A. Enhance Website Capabilities:

I. Utilize SCAG’s web site to provide information, announce draft and final program releases, encourage feedback and comments from the public, make draft and final programs and corresponding documents available, provide contact information, inform of upcoming events and meetings, post meeting agendas and minutes

II. Ensure that the information available is timely, easy-to-understand and accessible and that the website is compliant with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

B. Update Contact Databases and Advisory Groups:

I. Review and update mailing lists for outreach efforts.

II. Expand contact databases to include all Interested Parties identified in the Plan.

C. Coordinate Outreach Efforts with other Stakeholder Organizations:

I. Support interagency coordination by continuing to host and participate in the monthly TCWG meetings.

II. Mail Notice of Draft FTIP availability to the stakeholders at the local, state and federal level to solicit their comment and input to the final FTIP. Ensure that the public comment period for the program is at least 30 days.

III. Participate in regular meetings with the county transportation commissions in the coordination of the draft and final FTIP.

D. Conduct Public Hearing:

I. Announce public hearings in printed materials, on SCAG’s website, and in newspapers throughout the SCAG Region.

II. Hold public meetings at convenient and accessible locations and times.

III. Conduct at least two public hearings on the draft FTIP.

IV. Explore new opportunities using state-of-the-art communications and information technology for reaching remote audiences.

E. Maintain a Log of Outreach Efforts:

I. Maintain a log of all agency-wide outreach presentations.

II. Review and consider all public comments in the regional transportation planning process.

III. Record, track and maintain a log of comments and SCAG’s response to the comments

IV. Respond to all comments received in a timely manner.

2. Annual Listing of Projects
Federal regulations requires the production of the annual listing of projects with the cooperation of Caltrans and the public transportation operators throughout the SCAG region including bicycle and pedestrian projects for which Federal funds were obligated in the preceding year. The listing is available on SCAG’s website.
The county commissions, working with the project sponsors within their respective county, update project obligations for projects in their county through use of the SCAG FTIP database. SCAG then produces an annual listing of projects utilizing the SCAG FTIP database. In addition, Caltrans produces obligation reports for the MPO’s, which SCAG also makes available on its website as supplemental

3. FTIP Amendments
For the FTIP, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) California Division has provided definitions of amendments and corresponding conformity requirements. The following summarizes the categories of amendments identified by FHWA for the FTIP and the public participation requirements for each amendment type.

A. Category 1. Administrative Modification
An administrative modification includes minor changes to project cost, schedule, scope, or funding sources. Please see the Federal Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (FSTIP) and Federal Transportation Improvement program (FTIP) Amendment and Administrative Modification Procedures for a complete definition of an administrative modification and eligibility.

B. Category 2. Amendment – Changes that do not impact the existing conformity determination.
The Amendment category may include changes that are not eligible under an administrative modification.

C. Category 3. Amendment – Relying on the existing Conformity Determination.
This amendment may include adding a project or a project phase to the program. This amendment category consists of projects that are modeled and are included in the regional emissions analysis.

D. Category 4. Formal Amendment – New Conformity Determination.
This amendment may include adding or deleting projects that are not currently included in the regional emissions analysis or part of the existing conformity determination. This amendment may involve adding or deleting projects that must be modeled for their air quality impacts: significantly changing the design concept, scope; or schedule of an existing project.

E. Category 5. Technical Amendment – Changes to project information not required to be included in the FTIP per federal requirements.
Changes are not subject to an administrative modification or an amendment such as changes to project codes, and changes to correct typographical errors. These technical corrections do not impact project scope or cost.

Public Hearing – Public Review & Comment Period Requirement

Amendment Category

Public Hearing Requirements

Public Review Period (# of days)

Category 1 - Administrative

n/a

n/a

Category 2 - Amendment Changes that do not impact the existing conformity determination

No

10

Category 3 - Amendment Relying on existing conformity determination

No

10

Category 4 – Formal Requires a new conformity determination

Yes

30

Category 5 - Technical Correction
Not subject to funding agency approval for public review

No

n/a


 

FTIP Amendment and Administrative Modification Approval Procedures – SCAG Executive Director Authority

FTIP Amendment Procedures

As part of the TIP approval process, the SCAG Regional Council approved Resolution # 11-532-1 granting authority to SCAG’s Executive Director or designee to approve Federal Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP) amendments and associated conformity determination and to transmit to the state and federal agencies amendments to the most currently approved FTIP. These amendments must meet the following criteria:

  • Changes that do not affect the regional emissions analysis.
  • Changes that do not affect the timely implementation of the Transportation Control Measures.
  • Changes that do not adversely impact financial constraint.
  • Changes consistent with the adopted Regional Transportation Plan.

Amendments triggered by an RTP amendment must be approved by the Regional Council

FTIP Administrative Modification Procedure

Consistent with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) letter dated June 3, 2011 the SCAG Regional Council has the discretion to delegate authority to SCAG’s Executive Director to approve FTIP Administrative Modifications to the Federal State Transportation Improvement Program (FSTIP) consistent with approved FSTIP/FTIP Administrative Modification and Amendment Procedures and as may be amended. Administrative Modifications are minor project changes that qualify under the FSTIP/FTIP Administrative Modification and Amendment Procedures. Because FTIP Administrative Modifications are considered minor changes, public review is not required. Such delegation of authority was granted as part of the same SCAG Regional Council Resolution (# 11-532-1). The following procedures apply to this delegation of authority:

  • SCAG will send copies of the approved administrative modification to Caltrans, FHWA, and FTA.
  • Once the administrative modification is approved by SCAG, the administrative modification will be deemed part of the Federal State Transportation Improvement Program (FSTIP).
  • SCAG will demonstrate in a subsequent amendment that the net financial change from each administrative modification has been accounted for.
  • Caltrans will conduct periodic reviews of SCAG’s administrative modification process to confirm adherence to the procedures. Noncompliance with the procedures will result in revocation of the MPO’s delegation.

OVERALL WORK PROGRAM

Funding for SCAG’s metropolitan planning activities are documented in an annual Overall Work Program (OWP) (also known as a Unified Planning Work Program), pursuant to federal requirements, 23 CFR 450.308(b)-(c), and Caltrans guidance.

The OWP is developed each fiscal year, and details the agency’s planning and budgetary priorities for the following fiscal year. SCAG’s federal and state funding partners (FHWA, FTA and Caltrans) must approve SCAG’s OWP each year before it takes effect.

The following describes SCAG’s strategies, procedures and techniques with respect to public participation on the OWP.

  1. Adopt OWP Preparation Schedule and Work Programs Outcomes: (September-October).
    • A. Regional Council adopts the OWP preparation schedule and work program outcomes for the coming fiscal year.
  2. Conduct a Budget Workshop: (February).
    • A. SCAG staff conducts a Budget Workshop for the Regional Council and members of the public.
  3. Distribute Draft OWP: (March).
    • A. The Regional Council approves the Comprehensive Budget which includes the draft OWP. The draft OWP is distributed to all Regional Council members and the Regional Council approves the release of the document for a minimum 45-day public comment and review period. The draft OWP is also placed on SCAG’s website.
  4. Distribute the Draft OWP for Public Comments: (March).
    • A. Staff mails letters to over 300 City Planners, Planning Directors and other Planning representatives within the SCAG region, including subregional coordinators, CTCs and transit operators, encourages their feedback on the draft OWP, and notifies them of the availability of the draft document on SCAG’s website.
  5. Review and Consider Comments Received in the Final OWP Deliberations: (April).
    • A. Staff reviews and considers all public comments in the OWP planning process.
    • B. Staff records, tracks and maintains a log of comments and SCAG’s response to the comments.
  6. Adopt the Final Comprehensive Budget and Resolution Authorizing the Submittal to Funding Partners: (April).
    • A. The Regional Council adopts the Final Comprehensive Budget and Resolution authorizing the submittal of the Final OWP to Caltrans and other funding agencies as necessary for approval. Caltrans must submit the recommended Final OWP to FHWA/FTA by June 1 of each year.

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SECTION X. CONTACTING & PROVIDING INPUT TO SCAG

SCAG strives to make it easy to stay connected and provide input regarding the agency’s policies, plans, programs, services, initiatives and events.

E-Communication – SCAG Spotlight is the official newsletter of the Regional Council. It includes information on recent Regional Council actions, an update from SCAG’s Executive Director and news on upcoming events. To view or subscribe to SCAG’s e-newsletters, visit www.scag.ca.gov.

Social Media – To help expand awareness of SCAG and broaden interest in its regional planning work, SCAG is active on several social networking sites. Stay current with SCAG news and events by ‘liking’ Southern California Association of Governments on Facebook or following the agency on Twitter at @SCAGnews.

Diverse Outreach – SCAG seeks to ensure that diverse populations are involved in the regional planning process. With a minimum advance notice of 72 hours, SCAG makes available translation assistance at its workshops and public meetings. SCAG translates key outreach materials into several languages and makes them available on the SCAG website at www.scag.ca.gov.

If you would like to receive information about SCAG policies, plans, programs, services, initiatives or events, please:

Mail or deliver to any SCAG office

  • Main Office: 818 W. 7th Street, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017
  • Imperial County Office: 1405 N. Imperial Avenue, Suite 1, El Centro, CA 92243
  • Orange County Office: 600 S. Main Street, Suite 906, Orange, CA 92863
  • Riverside County Office: 3403 10th Street, Suite 805, Riverside, CA 92501
  • San Bernardino County Office: 1170 W. 3rd Street, Suite 140, San Bernardino, CA 92410
  • Ventura County Office: 950 County Square Drive, Suite 101, Ventura, CA 93003

OR
Email SCAG at: contactus@scag.ca.gov
OR
Fax (attention Media & Public Affairs): 213-236-1961

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