Only one year ago, in April 2022, the Equity in Infrastructure Project (EIP) launched publicly with five First Mover signers of our Pledge. Just one year later, 41 signatories have embraced our Pledge, 17 distinguished members make up our Advisory Council, and 11 significant supporters provide the underwriting for our cause. Within a year of our launch, the White House has directly called upon Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grantees to join our movement. We are humbled, grateful, and inspired.
Signing the Pledge is just the first step in engaging with EIP -- we are about action. Our partners at CTA and SEPTA have taken bold action by signing a first-of-kind MOU to recognize each other’s certified Small Business Enterprises (SBEs). It’s a model for other entities to replicate with the goal of moving toward broader reciprocity and even a national certification database.
Our signatories have established a virtuous circle of sharing best practices that set a standard for excellence. Our collaborative effort fosters innovation, promotes growth, and benefits all parties. This month, for example, we brought together 17 leaders of state-level departments of transportation for a tremendous exchange of ideas. We also moved toward launching an EIP internship partnership with HBCUs, about which we’ll have more to say later.
In partnership with Denver International Airport (DEN), EIP is also well underway in developing a dashboard for infrastructure owners to use in tracking progress and bringing accountability to their commitments to increase the number, size, and proportion of contracts going to Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). This tool will be critical in promoting equity and diversity in the infrastructure sector and creating opportunities for HUBs to grow and thrive.
Some may say that our work is about infrastructure or contracting, and indeed it is. Most importantly, however, our mission is about people. It’s about creating careers in underserved communities. It’s about creating generational wealth and closing the racial wealth gap to break long-lasting cycles. It’s about people’s economic security and peace of mind.
EIP is applied action. BIL funds are being spent, and local, state, and regional agencies will plan the projects they want to build. We work directly with these infrastructure owners on who will do the building.