Plan aims to localize federal transportation jobs

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx proposed a new pilot program on Tuesday that will explore ways to make it easier for cities and states to hire local residents for transportation projects and keep federal investments closer to home.

“Local workers often have the greatest stake in local road and transit projects, but federal rules make it hard for communities to ensure that their workers reap some of the benefits, and that’s just not right,” Foxx said. “We want to create ladders of opportunities for them, as well as for some low-income workers and veterans, to help put some of the transportation investments we make in the hands of those who would benefit most.”

Federal contracting rules prohibit the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration from allowing recipients to use contract provisions that are not directly related to work performance, such as provisions that further social or economic goals, including local-hire provisions. The year-long pilot program would allow both agencies to test and evaluate the merits of such provisions and to decide whether investing in local communities will improve the competitive bidding process.

“The investments we make in local communities are truly transformational,” Therese McMillan, acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, said. “These investments should not only change the landscape of a community, but it should also transform and improve the lives of its residents.”

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