Mayor Eric Garcetti joined more than 160 leaders, organizations and academics across the nation Tuesday to call on President Joe Biden to overturn a ban on local hire policies for projects funded with federal dollars.
“Investing in our transportation networks is about more than creating a sustainable way to get around — it’s a down payment on a new generation of prosperity in our own communities,” Garcetti said. “Expanding local hire would ensure our taxpayer dollars translate into good-paying jobs for Angelenos, lift up our most vulnerable residents, and build an economy that works for everyone.”
Officials argue that hiring locally will bolster regional economies. In their letter to the Biden administration, the coalition cited data from Local Labor Hiring Pilot, which shows that local hiring can be used on infrastructure projects without decreasing competition or increasing bid prices.
The ban was enacted in 1986 to increase the number of bidders for projects and more efficiently use taxpayer dollars, according to the letter.
“Across the United States, infrastructure projects are being designed, built and managed in underserved communities by people who live outside of those communities or who aren’t reflective of a community’s demographics,” L.A. Metro CEO Phillip Washington said. “This is why Metro is steadfast in its support of local hiring provisions on federally funded transportation projects. We want to give residents who live in the community where projects are being built an opportunity to design and build their own infrastructure.”
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles also supported overturning the ban.
“When a new infrastructure project is started in South Los Angeles, it should be our community who gets the first shot at the new jobs associated with completing the project. We need to be doing everything we can to embrace job-growth in our neighborhoods, especially as we fight against COVID-19,” she said.
The letter was signed by officials representing Alexandria, Virginia; Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; Seattle, Washington; Syracuse, New York; King County, Washington; Miami-Dade County, Florida; the National League of Cities; the National Association of Counties; the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department; North America’s Building Trades Unions and others.