DOT Chiefs California, District of ColombiaIllinois, Kansas, Louisiana & Michigan are committed to creating opportunity for historically underutilized businesses (HUBs).

EDS: photos and video available

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — At an Equity in Infrastructure Project (EIP) event on October 11the heads of the transport departments of Californiathe District of ColombiaIllinois, Kansas, Louisiana and Michigan signed the EIP Pledge, which aims to leverage infrastructure spending to create wealth in underserved communities. The event was organized by Douglas J. McCarrongeneral president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and included remarks from the Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation Carlos Monje and member of the EIP advisory board Ingrid MerriwetherPresident and CEO of Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services.

Through its pledge, EIP secures commitments from public bodies to work with the organization and other pledge signatories to improve public procurement practices by creating opportunities for historically underutilized businesses (HUBs) to create generational wealth and reduce the racial wealth gap by creating more opportunities for venture capital and equity deals for these companies.

The six new pledge signatories:

  • California State Transportation Agency – Dr. Toks Omishakin, Secretary
  • District Transportation Department – EverettLotDirector
  • Illinois Department of Transportation – Omer OsmanSecretary
  • Kansas Department of Transportation – Julie LorenzSecretary
  • Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development – Dr. Shawn WilsonSecretary
  • Michigan Department of Transportation – Paul C. Ajegba, PE, Director

The leaders signed individual certificates as well as a large certificate which they signed jointly.

They join former Pledge signatories:

  • Chicago Transit Authority – Dorval R. Carter, Jr.President
  • denver International airport – Philip A.WashingtonCEO
  • Port long beachmario corderoExecutive Director
  • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – Adel H. Hagekhalil, Managing Director
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) – Leslie S. Richardsgeneral manager and CEO
  • City and County of Denver, ColoradoMichael B. Hancockmayor
  • City of PhiladelphiaJim Kenneymayor

“You can see the urgency behind our cause in how quickly this coalition is growing with the participation of some of the largest public contracting entities in the country,” said denver International Airport CEO Philip A.Washington, president and co-founder of the EIP. “As we improve public transit systems, airports and other American infrastructure, we must also focus on improving people’s lives.”

“In my career in both the public and private sectors, I have never seen such a focused focus on breaking down barriers and building pathways to success for those historically left behind,” said the co-founder of EIP and former Deputy Secretary of the US DOT. John D. Porcari. “What we saw today was a real commitment, across the infrastructure space, to fundamentally change the way we do business by ensuring that infrastructure investments are real community investments.”

EIP was founded by Washington, Porcari and others in anticipation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and to respond to President Biden’s call to leverage infrastructure spending to create wealth in underserved communities. EIP receives generous support from social and environmental entrepreneurs, the Social Impact Fund, the James Irvine Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, HNTB, STV and Anser Advisory LLC. Washington and Porcari run the organization.

EIP also benefits from its Advisory Board, which includes Diana MendesCorporate Chair for Transportation and Mobility Equity, HNTB (Chair); Greg KellyPresident and CEO, STV; Bryan Carruthers, Managing Director, Anser Advisory; G. Ramanujam, CEO, SOMAT; Eve WilliamsPresident, Dikita Enterprises; Ingrid MerriwetherPresident and CEO, Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services; April RaiPresident and CEO, COMTO; Eboni Winbush, President and CEO, Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC); and Paul SkoutelasPresident and CEO, American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

“Not all privileges, nor all burdens, have been distributed equally. Those who are underserved and neglected demand and deserve immediate and continued inclusion. I am delighted with our commitment to increasing engagement with communities underserved as well as the positive impact of our decision-making process,” said California State Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakine. “With an influx of federal and state funding, we have an opportunity to redefine the narrative of transportation infrastructure spending. By joining this pledge, I encourage others to do the same as we must seize this moment and stand responsible for making the process changes that will deliver real economic opportunity for all.”

“We are proud to partner with our transportation colleagues to create and preserve policies that leverage infrastructure spending, reconnect neighborhoods and create small business opportunities for our communities that need them most,” said the director of DDOT. EverettLot. “The District of Colombiaunder the leadership of Mayor Bowser, will continue to provide DBE companies with rewarding opportunities to grow, connect and learn how to do business with the District of Colombia in the transports.”

“By joining our partners in signing this pledge, the Illinois Department of Transportation further reinforces its commitment to embedding the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do,” said Secretary to Illinois Transportation. Omer Osman. “Under Governor JB Pritzker, Illinois made unprecedented investments in infrastructure, which were supported by historic funding commitments at the federal level. We all have before us a unique opportunity to create a workforce and contracting community that is inclusive and truly reflects the communities we serve. »

“These investments should strengthen both our human and physical capital today and tomorrow,” the Kansas transportation secretary said. Julie Lorenz. “Building a quality transportation system requires strong public-private partnerships and a commitment to expanding contracting opportunities to better serve all communities.”

“Creating pathways to equity and ensuring that a balanced infrastructure agenda is advanced, especially in underserved communities, was a commitment I made when I became President of AASHTO, and which the DOTD and AASHTO have strived to achieve with great success,” said Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. “Organizations such as EIP are essential to this work and I am pleased to see so many other states supporting this effort, holding themselves and their agencies publicly accountable for such important work.”

“It is an important day for the state of Michigan“said the director of the Michigan Department of Transportation Paul C. Ajegba. “The EIP aligns well with Governor Whitmer’s focus on equity and other initiatives that I have been a champion for, including a groundbreaking MDOT program that creates opportunities for HBCU students and a process pioneer in creating opportunities for DBE trucking companies.This puts a spotlight on state of michigan priorities, and I am honored to sign this pledge. »

Starting from the baseline of their current initiatives, December 2025the signatories undertake to:

  • Increase the number, size and proportion of contract opportunities going to HUBs;
  • Increase the number, size and proportion of contract opportunities going to HUBs as prime contractors;
  • streamline contract administration with HUBs to centralize certification, improve payment timelines, and standardize transparent data collection;
  • Increase the amount and type of appropriate funding available for HUBs; and
  • Increase the number of pledge signatories.

The EIP defines HUBs as including businesses officially designated as DBEs, Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBEs), Small Businesses (SBEs), as well as any other business classification used locally in United States intended to stimulate participation from otherwise underutilized businesses, which may vary by state, region and municipality.

Learn more about the EIP at

Contact: Youssef Robb323-384-1789

SOURCE Participation in the infrastructure project


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