An Ohio organization wants to make sure minority contractors are included in the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.
The American Center for Economic Equality and The Black Contractors Group sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg over their concerns that minority contractors are allegedly being excluded.
“We’ve been excluded in the construction industry. We have been left out of the construction industry. These are our tax dollars. The contractors have to listen that we are not going to take it anymore,” said President Norman Edwards of ACEE/The Black Contractors Group.
In response to Edwards’ claims, Matt Bruning with the Ohio Department of Transportation sent this statement on behalf of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project team:
“This is a historic project, and we are committed to ensuring minority-owned businesses will participate in the opportunities provided by this $3.6 billion project. The project team established a Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee and has hosted several outreach events targeted directly at minority-owned companies, the latest of which drew more [than] 250 people. We want the people building this project to reflect the people who live by and will use this vital link for decades to come,” the statement read.
It continued: “We appreciate the passion Mr. Edwards has as a champion of minority-owned contractors and look forward to continuing to work with him and others in the minority-business community to meet our goal.”
No one has been awarded the contract for this project.
Edwards attended the latest meeting on March 7 hosted by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He described it as a meet and greet event where smaller contractors could try to get on a team of larger contracting companies that would submit a bid on the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.
Edwards said he was told by representatives that the larger companies in attendance would be working together and submit one bid.
Cincinnati City Councilmember Meeka Owens read a letter submitted by Edwards. She said diversity and inclusion are key to the bridge’s success.
“I have seen the letter and it’s something we want to focus on of course. It’s important that with almost a $4 billion project that we understand these dollars are going to minority communities, women, people of color, Black, Brown, and so I am definitely looking forward to seeing what those goals are and really how those goals can increase based on the magnitude of the project,” Councilmember Owens said.
Brent Spence Bridge Corridor officials are asking the public for their feedback on the project. To offer comment or for more information, click here.