The foundation for public involvement is the belief that people whose lives are affected by transportation planning and decisions have a right to be involved in the decision-making process and influence choices that are made. Engaging the community directly in the process promotes successful problem solving, yields new and diverse ideas and voices, and gives the public a sense of ownership of the developed solutions.
Public participation is a proactive process, both on the part of the governing bodies to find innovative ways to identify and engage the affected public, and on the public to contribute their ideas to influence decisions. The primary emphasis of public involvement is the creation of an open exchange of information and ideas. The goal is to allow the public opportunities throughout the process to influence the transportation decision-making process. NLCOG is committed to public and stakeholder involvement that is comprehensive, effective, and meaningful. The NLCOG Public Involvement Plan, reflects this commitment and guides NLCOG outreach and public involvement efforts.
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The Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG) assures that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, or sex, as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (PL 100.259), be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity. NLCOG is committed to assure every effort will be made to prevent the discrimination of low-income and minority populations as a result of any impact of its programs or activities in accordance with Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and in Low-Income Populations.
NLCOG further assures that every effort will be made to ensure nondiscrimination in all of its programs and activities, whether those programs and activities are federally funded or not. In the event NLCOG distributes federal aid funds to another governmental entity, NLCOG will include Title VI language in all written agreements and will monitor for compliance. NLCOG's Title VI Program Plan describes how NLCOG meets Title VI requirements under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Environmental Justice compliance; details the demographic profile and mobility needs of the metropolitan planning area; and explains procedures for filing a Title VI discrimination complaint.
The Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Plan sets forth the need and policies for meeting the need of limited English proficient communities. NLCOG follows Executive Order 13166 in identifying and engaging Limited English Proficiency populations to ensure their involvement and knowledge of transportation planning and projects in and around their communities. A LEP person is defined as one who does not speak English as his or her primary language and has a limited ability to read, write, or understand English. NLCOG's policy for engaging individuals with Limited English Proficiency is to provide translation services to individuals who request them if reasonable accommodations can be made.
In addition, NLCOG proactively identifies communities with high concentrations of LEP persons and employs strategies to effectively engage them in the planning process. NLCOG trains staff to recognize individuals in community meetings and forums who may show difficulty or inability to read or write English, and to assist them accordingly.