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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 17-11
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

Federal Highway, Transit Officials Help San Francisco Small Business Owners Prepare to Compete for Government Contracts

SAN FRANCISCO - The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today jointly hosted a workshop aimed at improving the ability of small businesses in the Bay Area to compete for federal transportation contracts and engage more minorities and women in construction careers. The workshop was held in advance of advertising contracts for the $1 billion Central Subway project so that these businesses could participate in the process.

"When we help small businesses, we help the U.S. economy grow," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "California's small business community has much to offer and we are anxious for them to take part in the important transportation projects that are shaping this nation."

The Central Subway project is a 1.7-mile extension of the Third Street light rail transit (LRT) line from Fourth and King Streets through Chinatown into the city's Central Business District. It will also include construction of a new surface station and three underground stations. The project will relieve congestion on downtown streets once it's completed, particularly around the Financial District, Union Square and Chinatown, where bus routes are operating at peak capacity.

"Small businesses are the heart of the American economy," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "We want to do everything we can to help small business enterprises compete in order to put people back to work and manage costs of transportation projects."

"New transit projects are expected to provide mobility benefits to all parts of the community" said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, "but the Obama Administration is taking this one step further by insisting that the actual construction of these projects also benefit more communities. These workshops will help ensure that the jobs and prosperity that accompanies these construction activities benefits citizens from all walks of life."

U.S. Department of Transportation officials will meet with small and disadvantaged business owners, state and local transportation officials, and other stakeholders in coming months about the following projects:

  • Atlanta, GA - I-75/I-575 Northeast Corridor, May 11 - Estimated to cost $1.1 billion, this project will construct 16 miles on I-75, 12 miles on I-575 and 2 miles on I-285. It may also include the construction of two reversible HOV/HOT lanes on I-75 between I-285 and I-575, and improve local express bus service, to reduce area traffic congestion.

  • Norfolk, VA -- Midtown Tunnel Project, Oct. 23 - Estimated at $2.2 billion, the Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/Martin Luther King Freeway Extension project is essentially three separate projects being procured as one larger project under Virginia's Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA). When completed, the route's capacity will be expanded and downtown traffic congestion will be greatly relieved.

This San Francisco workshop is the eighth in a series of national forums that have been held to share the best practices of the Wisconsin, Missouri, and Virginia departments of transportation, which have resulted in achieving Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goals on major projects.

Since last year, FHWA has initiated similar meetings around the country to focus on opportunities for minority- and women-owned small and disadvantaged businesses. The meetings helped prepare small business to compete for federal projects valued at, in total, at more than $19 billion.

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