Ranking Member Crawford Statement from Hearing to Examine Whether Discrimination Exists in Federal Passenger Rail Contracting
Opening remarks, as prepared, of Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Crawford (R-AR) from today’s hearing entitled, “Does Discrimination Exist in Federal Passenger Rail Contracting?”:
Thank you, Chair Payne, for holding this hearing, and thank you to our witnesses for participating.
Today’s hearing will examine the need for a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program within the Department of Transportation for passenger rail contractors to ensure equal and fair access to government grant money for rail infrastructure projects. The DBE program currently applies to airport construction, airport concessions, and surface transportation construction programs, but not to passenger rail work.
This Committee has demonstrated a bipartisan commitment to the DBE program and to promoting fair and full access to transportation contracting opportunities.
While the Federal Railroad Administration doesn’t currently have statutory authority to administer a DBE program for passenger rail, the FRA has demonstrated its support of the DBE program objectives.
The 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, directed the FRA to conduct a nationwide disparity and availability study on participation by minority, women, and veteran-owned small businesses in federally-funded intercity passenger rail transportation projects. The study will inform Congress on whether legislation is needed to create a DBE program for passenger rail contracting.
I commend the Chair for holding this hearing today.
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