New Report: Minority-Owned Businesses Left Out of Transport Stimulus

Women and minorities are getting shortchanged in the chase for transportation stimulus contracts, according to a report released today by the Transportation Equity Network (TEN) and Good Jobs First.

cityroom_20090914_ahill_85420_Mino_large.png(Photo: WBEZ)

Using federal procurement data — which, the two advocacy groups acknowledged, represents just a slice of
the White House’s economic recovery pie — the report found that women-
and minority-owned business have been allocated just 10.3 percent of
transportation stimulus funds.

As the stimulus’ benefits for
the most disadvantaged Americans become a key concern in Washington,
getting attention from the Congressional Black Caucus and the Transportation Secretary, the conclusions of today’s report could resonate during the crafting of the Obama administration’s next job-creation effort.

"In the few places where our affiliates were
able to
get some data, it seems that minorities and women are getting fewer
jobs and fewer work
hours," TEN executive director Laura Barrett told reporters.

"It seems
that instead of offering a hand up to minority and women contractors,
[the stimulus law] is actually continuing the bad patterns of
segregation that have plagued federal contracts for
years."

The
report includes several anecdotal reports of state DOTs failing to meet
their goals for minority hiring under the stimulus law. Among the local
backlashes: African-American contractors filed
a complaint in August against three Kansas localities, alleging they
were shortchanged on stimulus work, and several California
minority-owned businesses organized a protest in July.

Later in the summer, the U.S. DOT announced
a $20 million infusion to help Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, a
designation that includes many minority contractors, participate in
transportation stimulus projects.

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