Black Contractors Get Shut Out
Minority contractors are being left out of federally funded highway projects, according to contracting data from the National Black Chamber of Congress (NBCC). For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008, state-run highway departments received more than $29 billion annually for construction, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and only 1.1% of that was spent with black-owned firms.
Thirteen states (Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and Wyoming) did no business with black firms, according to the data which the U.S. Department of Transportation provided to the NBCC. California, which has a 54% minority population and received $2.3 billion, contracted only one-tenth of 1% with black contractors. New York and Texas contracted 0.5% and 1% to black contractors, respectively. Only the District of Columbia posted a strong track record with 15% black participation.
The NBCC says that the number of contractors hired should represent the population of blacks nationally, which is 14%.
–Marcia Wade Talbert