Office of Equal Opportunity - Title VI Overview

Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act OF 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. Presidential Executive Order 12898 addresses environmental justice in minority and low-income populations. Presidential Executive Order 13166 provides equal access to services and benefits to those individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The rights of women, the elderly and the disabled are protected under related statutes. These presidential executive orders and the related statutes fall under the umbrella of Title VI.

The Title VI program and related statutes provide leadership, direction and policy, ensuring compliance with Title VI and environmental justice principles. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is proud of its longstanding policy to ensure that social impacts to communities and people are recognized throughout the transportation decision-making process.

Executive Order 12898 requires federal agencies and recipients, to the greatest extent practicable by law, to achieve environmental justice by identifying and addressing high and adverse effects of its program, policies and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.

The Environmental Protection Act defines Environmental Justice (EJ) as the "fair treatment for people of all races, cultures, and incomes, regarding the development of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." Attention to the impact of environmental pollution on segments of our society is growing. Concerns that minority populations and low-income populations bear a disproportionate amount of adverse health and environmental effects led President Bill Clinton to issue Executive Order 12898 in 1994, focusing federal agency attention on these issues. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded by developing the Environmental Justice Strategy, which addresses these concerns.