Last month, Sarah Stroman and Brandy Huston of the Environmental Affairs Division of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Jolanda Prozzi of the Center for Transportation Research at the University Texas at Austin gave a presentation about Environmental Justice and Texas Toll Roads to the Heart of Texas Chapter of WTS.
Sarah presented on the legal framework of environmental justice analysis. You can watch Sarah's portion of the presentation here:
Brandy presented on the current state of TxDOT guidance. One very interesting portion of her talk was a list of major elements of environmental justice analysis. Brandy asked a series of questions that I've outlined below.
Major Elements of Environmental Justice Analysis
1. Users and Options
- Who is using the facility?
- What are their choices?
- How do you figure out who is using the facility?
- Are there free, parallel access roads?
- What are the non-toll routes?
2. Accessibility, Policies and Collection Methods
- Where is the excess toll revenue going?
- What kind of projects are being funding with the toll revenue?
- How easy is it to get a toll tag?
- Does a toll tag require a credit card?
- What are the payment options other than a toll tag?
- How far do people have to go to get a tag?
- What are the payment choices?
- How much more does it cost if users don't have a toll tag?
3. Economic Analysis
Today, TxDOT uses a simple reasonable scenario analysis to determine economic impact.
- How often is someone likely to use the facility?
- How many times per year?
- How much would a reasonable scenario cost (i.e. likely times to use the facility x number of times per year)?
- What percentage of income would the reasonable scenario be for a person of low-income versus a person of medium income?
You can watch Brandy's portion of the presentation here:
Finally, Jolanda presented her research on the Appraisal of Available Analytical Tools To Assess Environmental Justice Impacts of Toll Road Projects. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Texas is a leader in analysis of potential environmental justice concerns followed closely by Washington DOT. Learn more about the methods used by the different states in Jolanda's portion of the presentation here:
Does your company block YouTube? If so, check out the PowerPoint of the presentation here.
If you're interested in a quick estimate of environmental justice groups in an area, check out Cubit's free EJ Estimator.
A big thank you to Sarah, Brandy, Jolanda and the Heart of Texas Chapter of WTS for letting us record the presentation and make it available.
What? You're not a member of WTS? Learn more about the Heart of Texas Chapter of WTS here.
If there's any portion of the presentation that you'd like to discuss further, leave me a comment below.