EIP Presents Historic Reciprocity Agreement Amongst CTA, SEPTA to To Boost Traditionally Underrepresented Contracting Efforts
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- There is always room for further analysis. But the fact that there are hundreds – and even thousands – of SBE/MBE/WBE and similar certification programs nationwide has long been well known to be a significant barrier to Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) being awarded public infrastructure contracts.
So, through their participation in the Equity in Infrastructure Project, the chief executives of CTA and SEPTA – Dorval R. Carter, Jr. and Leslie Richards – took bold action and signed a first-of-kind MOU to recognize each others' certified Small Business Enterprises (SBEs). It's a model for other entities to replicate – the goal is to move toward broader reciprocity and even a national certification database.
The signing took place in Washington, DC at AASHTO headquarters at an event held alongside the The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 102nd Annual Meeting, and AASHTO Executive Director Jim Tymon welcomed the wonderful audience that turned out to join us. Our Advisory Council Chair, HNTB's Diana Mendes, was also on hand, and we are grateful for the support that our partners at Anser Advisory provided for the event, as well.
Dorval Carter noted that the MOU “will open up new opportunities for the SBEs and DBEs that do business with us in totally new markets without having to go through a lot of the paperwork and other barriers that they may face. From my perspective, what does that mean? That means I'm getting a bigger pool of companies that can compete for and get business at CTA. What does it mean for the DBEs? It means you are getting easy access and support to pursue business opportunities outside of the area that you have historically pursued -- and we hope that what will come out of that is more opportunities and more growth for these companies that allows them to develop and ultimately start to compete at a much higher level in our industry.”
Leslie Richards said at the event that, “With the title of the largest poor city in the United States, we have the largest percent of our population at or below the poverty line. So not only does this [MOU] help our industry, it’s going to help the people that live in the Philadelphia region. We are growing the ability for Historically Underutilized Businesses to have opportunities that they have not had before. We do want it to be a national model. We want others to replicate it, because we will be giving opportunities with the least burden to Historically Underutilized Businesses."
We know that infrastructure isn’t about “projects” – it’s about people, and we must act urgently to ensure the most people possible benefit from the IIJA/BIL. That’s exactly what CTA and SEPTA have done. Again, the goal is for their action to be replicable.
Please see the full text of their MOU here, and thank you for all that you do.
The Equity in Infrastructure Project (EIP) seeks 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. EIP defines HUBs as including firms formally designated as DBEs, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE), Small Business Enterprises (SBE), as well as any other business classification used locally in the United States intended to boost the participation of otherwise underutilized firms, which can vary by state, region, and municipality.
Learn more at EquityInInfrastructure.org.