Construction site

About the Equity in Infrastructure Project (EIP)

The Equity in Infrastructure Project (EIP) exists to improve public contracting practices by creating more opportunities for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) to build generational wealth and reduce the racial wealth gap by creating more prime, joint venture and equity contracting opportunities for these firms. Through our Pledge, EIP works to secure commitments from public agencies to increase the number, size and scope of contracts going to HUBs by facilitating access and reducing barriers to compete for business.

EIP was founded by Denver International Airport CEO Phillip A. Washington, former US Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari and others in anticipation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and to answer President Biden’s call to leverage infrastructure spending to build wealth in underserved communities. EIP receives generous support from Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, Social Impact Fund, HNTB and The James Irvine Foundation.

Initially, five First Mover agencies joined to help shape the pledge, identify initial projects of interest and prove the concept. They are:

  • Chicago Transit Authority – Dorval R. Carter, Jr., President
  • Denver International Airport – Phillip A. Washington, CEO
  • Port of Long Beach – Mario Cordero, Executive Director
  • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – Adel H. Hagekhalil, General Manager
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) – Leslie S. Richards, General Manager and CEO

We also work with the private sector and the US Department of Transportation and interested parties in federal, state and local government.

The Pledge was finalized after the First Mover leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. in December 2021 alongside senior leaders from the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, including representatives from USDOT, the Environmental Protection Agency, HNTB, AECOM, The James Irvine Foundation, members of Congress and others to lay the groundwork for this initiative. While EIP is acting independently, this effort seeks to advance the spirit of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and his June 2021 executive order pledging to increase by 2026 the share of federal contracts that go to small and disadvantaged businesses, which new Small Business Administration (SBA) data shows is unacceptably low

Success for EIP is measurable. Our Pledge relies on a baseline established by each participating agency against which they will measure themselves through December 2025. Accordingly, participating agencies must submit information on their existing contracting programs, including current utilization of small business enterprises (SBEs), disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs), women and minority business enterprises (W/MBEs), and any other category of Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) for which they accept certifications or have targeted procurement programs.

EIP recognizes that including agencies from across the country requires flexibility in these baseline measurements. Agencies run different programs and use unique systems to collect and report data, limiting cross-agency comparability.

We encourage agencies to participate regardless of the sophistication or breadth of current programming, and to measure progress against their individual starting point. Our goal is to spur collective action, at scale, that expands contracting opportunities for HUBs by December 2025.

Take the Pledge

To get involved or for more information, please contact info@equityininfrastructure.org.