Fourteen public and private sector infrastructure executives signed the Equity in Infrastructure Project (EIP) Pledge and EIP launched its California Plan initiative at ENR’s LA Infrastructure Forum on Nov. 20.
The Forum brought together hundreds of infrastructure leaders from across the Southland and the nation, who marked the 2nd anniversary of the historic federal infrastructure law as the 10 Freeway was reopened after emergency repairs. California Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin was announced as chair of EIP’s California Plan initiative.
EIP’s mission is to build generational wealth and reduce the racial wealth gap by improving public infrastructure contracting practices to create more prime, joint venture and equity contracting opportunities for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). EIP’s Pledge has now been signed by 55 heads of transit authorities, airports, ports, water districts, and engineering firms from across the country, and the White House has directly called upon Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grantees to sign the Pledge.
The California Plan brings together infrastructure agencies to accelerate progress in the state and, given California’s diversity and size, to accelerate progress nationally.
Before the signing ceremony, remarks were delivered by LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who introduced the unanimously approved motion that committed the County to the Pledge; Secretary Omishakin; and EIP Co-Chair Phil Washington, CEO of Denver International Airport and a former CEO of LA Metro.
The Pledge was signed at the event by:
- Holly Mitchell, Supervisor, LA County
- Stephanie Wiggins, CEO, LA Metro
- Marty Adams, General Manager, LADWP
- Gene Seroka, General Manager, Port of Los Angeles
- Beatrice Hsu, Interim CEO, Los Angeles World Airports
- Mark Pestrella, Director, LA County Public Works
- Robert Ferrante, General Manager, LA County Sanitation Districts
- Selwyn Hollins, Director, LA County Internal Services Department
- Kelly LoBianco, Director, LA County Department of Economic Opportunity
- Matt Crane, Executive Vice President and Regional Chief Executive, AECOM
- Dolla Dawson, COO of Business Operations, Milhouse Engineering & Construction
- Terry Ruhl, Board Chair & CEO, H.W. Lochner
- Michael Sutton, Chairman and CEO, Infrastructure Engineering, Inc.
- Chris Hannan, President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
“I am committed to delivering infrastructure projects with an equity lens, not only in what we deliver, but also in how we deliver it. By signing this pledge today, the county is committing to creating more equitable contracting process to allow communities to access public infrastructure dollars and to build wealth for those that have been systemically excluded,” Supervisor Holly Mitchell said.
“We must move from symbolic efforts on equity to systemic efforts. We’re saying the right things, but are we doing the right things,” said Secretary California Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin. “Every single person deserves the chance to be successful. It’s an honor for us to be a part of the Equity In Infrastructure Project.”
“As we invest billions in infrastructure projects, we must act intentionally to ensure we invest in people, too, and especially in those businesses and communities that have historically been left behind,” EIP Co-Chair and DEN CEO Phil Washington said. “That is what EIP is all about.” Washington was formerly CEO of Metro in Los Angeles.
“The collective scale of the California Plan’s agencies means this initiative will move the needle in the nation’s biggest state and across the country,” said EIP Co-Chair John Porcari, a former US Deputy Secretary of Transportation.
“Unfortunately, there is a concerted effort to use the courts to thwart policies that expand opportunity. As a voluntary initiative, EIP allows us to continue making progress regardless of this cynical legal strategy,” said EIP Co-Chair Rick Jacobs, referring to the recent Supreme Court decision against affirmative action and a federal lawsuit filed against the federal DBE program.
For a list of EIP’s signers and its distinguished Advisory Council and supporters, to read the Pledge, and for full background, visit https://equityininfrastructure.org/.