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Rep. Napolitano's Statement on USDOT Local Jobs Initiative

March 3, 2015
Press Release

(Washington, DC) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32) released the following statement on U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx's announcement of a new initiative to permit local hiring for projects funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA):

“For the longest time, cities and other entities have wrestled with the local hire provision if just one federal dollar for a project was used,” Napolitano said. “Today’s welcome news means cities with high unemployment will be allowed to compete for jobs for their residents. It also restores fairness to local taxpayers, ensuring they are given a hiring preference for the jobs their taxes are paying for. We thank Secretary Foxx for launching this pilot program, which increases critical jobs for our San Gabriel Valley residents, and we look forward to continuing to invest in infrastructure to grow our local economy.”

Effective immediately, the year-long pilot is proposed as an experiment under FHWA’s “Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP-14) and FTA experimental authorities, provisions made possible by Congress to allow the agencies leeway in finding new and more effective means of building, maintaining and managing federal transportation projects.

The Department published a related proposal in the Federal Register to modify the “common grant” rule geographic preference provision applied to USDOT programs. The public is encouraged to review it and submit comments to the Comment Docket (Link). The comment period will close 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Napolitano, the most senior California Democratic member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been proactively requesting consideration of local hire on federally funded projects for years.

Background:

·      Federal law prohibits cities and local transportation agencies from having a local hire preference on a transportation project when $1 dollar of federal money is spent. 

·      This provision was put in place many years ago when transportation projects used to be 80% federally funded and 20% locally funded. 

·      Today the funding formulas have reversed and most projects have very little federal funding and the vast majority is local funding.

·      Napolitano and many others believe that local workers should be given a hiring advantage when their tax dollars are paying for the majority of a project.

 

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