Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Culver City) introduced legislation that will allow transit agencies like the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to prioritize hiring local residents for highway and transit projects.
The "Local Hire Act" will allow state and local transit agencies to more easily generate jobs in the very counties and states where their transportation projects are located, while preserving competition and cost effectiveness. Transportation agencies will also have the flexibility to focus their hiring in low-income and underemployed neighborhoods by applying geographically targeted preferences.
"As our economy comes out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, we should ensure that money from local communities stays in those communities to help local residents," said Congresswoman Bass.
"As our Los Angeles tax dollars make it possible to build light rail and Metro lines, the 'Local Hire Act' will give our local officials the flexibility they need to ensure our communities benefit from greater employment. In my Congressional District, the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail will generate 7,500 jobs and this bill will help to ensure that South Los Angeles residents have the greatest opportunity to be hired for the project."
"This change in federal hiring regulations would be especially important now given the high rate of unemployment in California and Los Angeles County specifically, where the unemployment rate is hovering over 10 percent," said Diane DuBois, Chair of Los Angeles Metro's Board of Directors. "On behalf of Metro, I express my appreciation to Representative Bass for taking a leading role on this important issue."
"The clear aim of the legislation being introduced by Representative Karen Bass today is to incentivize the hiring of local workers in areas like Los Angeles County where voters have repeatedly voiced their strong support for transportation funding at the ballot box," added Arthur T. Leahy , Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles Metro.
Currently, federal regulations bar transit agencies that receive any federal assistance from implementing local hire policies for construction and operations projects. As the economy continues its recovery, transit agencies have the potential to spur job creation in their local communities. Limiting these transit agencies from being able to adopt local hiring policies when making hiring decisions hinders their ability to generate job growth, which is detrimental to local economies across the United States.
The "Local Hire Act" would loosen these restrictive federal regulations for transit agencies and help them create jobs and drive economic development in the areas where they operate.
Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Janice Hahn (D-CA), and Tim Bishop (D-NY) joined Congresswoman Bass as co-authors of the bill.