Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the MTA signed the ‘Equity in Infrastructure Project’ Pledge to further its commitment to inclusion when awarding contracts for construction projects. The pledge affirms the MTA will ensure participation on at least $1 billion of work by Minority- and Women-owned (MWBE) or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms every year, award larger contracts to small businesses, as well as expand the pool of MW/DBE firms the MTA works with and increase discretionary contracts for design and engineering MWBE firms by 20 percent over the next five years. 

“Racism and inequity have played a significant role in paving the landscape of New York State, and our infrastructure is a stark reminder of that history,” Governor Hochul said. “My commitment to equity, to expanding transit opportunities, and to Minority- and Women-owned Businesses is a commitment to building our state in a way that lifts up all New Yorkers.”

Today, MTA officials were joined by ‘Equity in Infrastructure Project’ (EIP) founders Phillip A. Washington and John D. Porcari, and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., who also serves as EIP chair, for a signing at the 14 St 123 subway station. The station is currently undergoing upgrades to make the station accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). More than two dozen minority- or women-owned firms are working on this project, with over $45 million in contracts to those firms.

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “I talk a lot about the transit system as New York’s engine of equity – it gives everybody access to jobs and education, and it’s one of the few things that makes this city affordable. At the MTA, equity also features prominently. In 2023 almost 40% of all MTA contracts awarded went to MWBEs, accounting for over $800 million. Once we eliminate the final hurdles to congestion pricing, we intend to quickly rev the engine back up on vital State of Good Repair projects and we will look to MWBE firms to help complete that work.”

MTA Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Lourdes Zapata said, “The MTA is proud to join fellow industry leaders for such an important initiative at such a crucial time. This pledge amplifies many of the efforts well underway on behalf of MWBDE and small businesses. Since 2019, our MWBE inclusion has improved every year, with a record 37% of all spending last year – the third consecutive year the MTA has exceeded the New York State MWBE goal. Our work with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) businesses resulted in an additional spend of over $390 million last year alone. Committed through the Equity and Infrastructure Pledge, the MTA will proudly represent New York State’s dedication to ensuring expanded opportunities to disadvantaged businesses on a national level.” 

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn said, “I applaud Governor Kathy Hochul, the EIP, and the MTA for propelling MWDBE success through this pivotal Equity in Infrastructure agreement. MWDBEs are facing an uphill battle to get their fair share of the economic pie, and New York State and City are taking another monumental step forward in making record-breaking progress to achieve economic equity. As the Chair of the MWBE Subcommittee, I’m committed to ensuring our nation’s largest transportation network is equitably awarding contracts to Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses, and am eager to work with stakeholders to move these massive efforts forward to expand eligible firms, and award larger contracts to unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in economic opportunities. In addition to this pledge, I thank Gov. Hochul for recently signing my legislation to expand the MTA’s small business mentoring program, which will exponentiate these sweeping economic equity efforts.”

The MTA has been a consistent state leader in working with MWDBE firms. Going back to 2020, the Authority has surpassed the New York State MWBE goal of 30 percent participation every year, accounting for over $2.5 billion in contracts during that time. The MTA ranks number one of all New York State agencies and public authorities in dollars paid to MWBE firms. 

Last year, the MTA awarded over $813.5 million in contracts across more than 500 MWBE firms accounting for approximately 37 percent of overall contracts. That is in addition to the $392.3 million paid to DBE firms, and $16.7 million to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The MTA has awarded nearly $70 million to small businesses through its Small Business Development Program. 

About the Equity in Infrastructure Project

The EIP was founded by Denver International Airport CEO Phillip A. Washington, former US Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari and others in anticipation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and to advance President Joe Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and his executive order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities pledging to increase by 2026 the share of federal contracts that go to small and disadvantaged businesses. 

The EIP’s work is supported by Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, Social Impact Fund, HNTB, STV, Anser Advisory, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation. 

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