Environmental Justice at MDOT 

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is committed to ensuring the equitable delivery of public transportation products, services, and solutions to all its users and stakeholders. MDOT will accomplish this by engaging with communities in a transparent and fair way regardless of race, culture, and income with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies in transportation decision making. Environmental Justice is a critical investment for MDOT to ensure the sustainability of its residents, employees, environment, and the diverse communities in which we live. In pursuit of this commitment, MDOT will align its strategic direction with efforts that make environmental justice the way we do business.

What is Environmental Justice?

MDOT currently uses the US Department of Transportation’s definition for environmental justice: “Environmental Justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, national origin, or educational level with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. DOT is committed to ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system for communities nationwide. In doing so, DOT comprehensively incorporates environmental justice (EJ) considerations into all of the Department’s programs, policies, and activities. By ensuring opportunities for minority and low-income communities to influence the transportation planning and decision-making processes through enhanced engagement and meaningful input, the Department actively prevents disproportionately high and adverse effects of transportation projects on minority and low-income communities.”

The Three Fundamental Environmental Justice Principles

  1. Promoting shovel-worthy, outcome-based, community-uplifting projects. Avoiding disproportionately high and adverse impacts on human health and the environment, while ensuring equitable benefit distribution.
  2. Intentionally pursuing all our diverse communities and stakeholders to foster meaningful engagement. Developing and implementing innovative methods of meaningful community participation that go beyond providing an opportunity, particularly in marginalized communities.
  3. Focusing on and assessing the total cost to the citizens of Maryland. Considering cumulative impacts and direct impacts when planning projects. With increased positive social and environmental impacts and emphasis on good stewardship of resources that affect positive change for people and our environment, with a focus on the intended outcome, not just a specific project.