Oakland, CA – Associated Professionals and Contractors (APAC) of California, Inc. commends the California High Speed Rail Authority's (CHSRA) decision to include Disadvantaged Businesses in the development and building of California’s High Speed Rail System. The CHSRA Board unanimously passed an amendment today ensuring the 10% Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Goal within the 30% Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Goal previously approved by the CHSRA.
"This is truly a monumental day for California's small, disadvantaged businesses,” stated APAC Chairman Frederick Jordan. "It has been a challenging two year effort to realize this goal. Small businesses are the backbone of the state's economy yet the bullet train had virtually excluded small, minority, and women and disabled veteran business enterprises,” stated Mr. Jordan. The $68 billion high-speed rail project is funded primarily with tax dollars.
The result of the amendment to the previously adopted Small Business Program is that minority and women owned businesses, under Federal regulations, will be targeted for over $6 billion participation on the $68 billion high speed rail system construction from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The initial construction corridor from Modesto to Bakersfield has 72% minority population with over 20% unemployment. APAC also worked with the Authority to establish the overall 30% Small Business Goal.
"In a culturally diverse state like California, it is difficult to understand how a government agency could simply ignore small and disadvantaged businesses," said Diana LaCome, APAC President, "this very issue prompted the formation of APAC.” The Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR) filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of APAC with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in December 2010 against the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) and the CHSRA. Eighteen months later APAC prevailed in the complaint, with the U.S. DOT ordering the CHSRA to open up its contracting process.
The Federal Rail Road Administration made frequent trips to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento to mediate the Title VI Discrimination Complaint. Twenty months later APAC prevailed in the Complaint and the CHSRA was ordered to open up its contracting process. “Today's approval by the Authority of the 10% DBE Goal is extremely significant to small businesses,” continued Ms. LaCome. "DBEs and other small businesses will have the opportunity at competing for contracts and participating in the building of the high speed rail project."