Title VI/Nondiscrimination Policy and Plan

Policy Statement:

The Heartland Regional Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) values diversity and welcomes input from all interested parties, regardless of cultural identity, background or income level. Moreover, the HRTPO believes that the best programs and services result from careful consideration of the needs of all of its communities and when those communities are involved in the transportation decision making process. Thus, HRTPO does not tolerate discrimination in any of its programs, services or activities. Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal and state authorities, the HRTPO will not exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination anyone on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, income or family status.

Complaint Procedures:

The HRTPO has established a discrimination complaint procedure and will take prompt and reasonable action to investigate and eliminate discrimination when found. Any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, family or income status in any of HRTPO’s programs, services or activities may file a complaint with the HRTPO Title VI/Nondiscrimination Coordinator:

Marybeth Soderstrom, Nondiscrimination Coordinator

555 East Church Street | Bartow, FL 33830

Email: msoderstrom@cfrpc.org

Phone: 863.534.7130 x 134 | Fax: 863.534.7138

Hearing Impaired: Dial 711 for the Florida Relay Service (TTY)

If possible, the complaint should be submitted in writing and contain the identity of the complainant; the basis for the allegations (i.e., race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability or family status); and a description of the alleged discrimination with the date of occurrence. If the complaint cannot be submitted in writing, the complainant should contact the Title VI/Nondiscrimination Coordinator for assistance.

The Title VI/Nondiscrimination Coordinator will respond to the complaint within thirty (30) calendar days and will take reasonable steps to resolve the matter. Should the HRTPO be unable to satisfactorily resolve a complaint, the HRTPO will forward the complaint, along with a record of its disposition to the appropriate District of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

The HRTPO’s Title VI Coordinator has ‘easy access’ to the HRTPO Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and is not required to obtain management or other approval to discuss discrimination issues with the CEO. However, should the complainant be unable or unwilling to complain to the HRTPO, the written complaint may be submitted directly to Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). FDOT will serve as a clearing house, forwarding the complaint to the appropriate state or federal agency:

Florida Department of Transportation

Equal Opportunity Office

ATTN: Title VI Complaint Processing

605 Suwannee Street MS 65

Tallahassee, FL 32399

ADA/504 Statement:

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and related federal and state laws and regulations forbid discrimination against those who have disabilities. Furthermore, these laws require federal aid recipients and other government entities to take affirmative steps to reasonably accommodate the disabled and ensure that their needs are equitably represented in transportation programs, services and activities.

The HRTPO will make every effort to ensure that its facilities, programs, services, and activities are accessible to those with disabilities. The HRTPO will make every effort to ensure that its advisory committees, public involvement activities and all other programs, services and activities include representation by the disabled community and disability service groups.

The HRTPO encourages the public to report any facility, program, service or activity that appears inaccessible to those who are disabled. Furthermore, the HRTPO will provide reasonable accommodation to disabled individuals who wish to participate in public involvement events or who require special assistance to access facilities, programs, services or activities. Because providing reasonable accommodation may require outside assistance, organization or resources, the HRTPO asks that requests be made at least three (3) calendar days prior to the need for accommodation.

Questions, concerns, comments or requests for accommodation should be made to the HRTPO’s ADA Officer:

Marybeth Soderstrom, Nondiscrimination Coordinator

555 East Church Street | Bartow, FL 33830

Email: msoderstrom@cfrpc.org

Phone: 863.534.7130 x 134 | Fax: 863.534.7138

Hearing Impaired: Dial 711 for the Florida Relay Service (TTY)