donate or subscribe
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

DOT approves separate goals for women and African American businesses

February 3, 2017

by the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce

On Jan. 19, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx approved a waiver of U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations to allow the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to provide group-specific race-conscious DBE contract goals for firms owned and controlled by women and African Americans. This was in response to the lack of participation of women and African Americans on SFMTA projects, such as the $1.5 billion Central Subway Project currently under construction in San Francisco.

Fred Jordan, Barbara Lee

The participation for each of these two groups as cited in the SFMTA Disparity Study, required by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is less than half of 1 percent of the project construction cost. The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) Office of Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., in a letter to SFMTA, indicated that this was unacceptable and that SFMTA must find a way to correct such disparities.

SFMTA then, in collaboration with the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, requested a waiver of regulations to use gender and race conscious goals as an effective effort to achieve a level of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation consistent with the objectives of federal regulations, specifically 49 CFR Part 26, using different or innovative means to address disparities.

“DBE” firms apply to all federal certified firms in the SFMTA Bay Area service area and generally to DBE firms in other areas of the state. While gender and race conscious goals are not allowed on state funded contracts in California since the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996, no matter what the disparity might be for any group, projects with federal funding are not affected by this state proposition.

The passage of Proposition 209 banned affirmative action resulting in the demise of an estimated 80 percent of Black contractors in the state of California in the following three years.

U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, whose Washington office supported the efforts of SFMTA and the Chamber practically on a daily basis for the last six months, issued the statement: “I am pleased by the commitment from federal government and local partners to ensure that vendors reflect the diversity of our nation and the workforce at large. As a former federal contractor myself, I understand the challenges that many women and African American business owners face. This decision is a critical step to address the disparities in federal contracting.” SFMTA will hold a public hearing as required by DOT and seek to implement the new goals on the upcoming $200 million Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project in San Francisco.

The passage of Proposition 209 banned affirmative action resulting in the demise of an estimated 80 percent of Black contractors in the state of California in the following three years.

Fred Jordan, president of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, declared: “We are most encouraged to bid now that U.S. DOT has taken the initiative within its own regulations to bring about parity for all.

“If SFMTA can do it, all of the other government agencies that receive federal funds can do it. Sadly, there is no known major agency in California receiving federal funds that has African American business participation over 1 percent.” He continued, “This is a game changer for African American- and women-owned businesses.”

The San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce and its president, Fred Jordan, can be reached at SFACC, 1006 Webster St., San Francisco, CA 94115, 415-749-6400 or fredjordan@fejordan.com.

4 thoughts on “DOT approves separate goals for women and African American businesses

  1. superior paper

    He has really taken the best decision in his life by giving the equal right to every gender which has been exceptional. I have been convinced by the his biggest decision today.

    Reply
  2. MarcoPrivette

    Training would defeat each outskirt assuming free and mandatory essential instruction is given, to functionalize the shut schools, diminish urban and rustic crevice, no sexual orientation segregation and overhauling of grade schools to primary schools.read more

    Reply

Leave a Reply

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements