Federal Push Back on Local and Targeted Hiring Policies
Early this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rolled back regulations intended to promote economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities. The DOT withdrew a provision that enabled local governments that receive federal transportation dollars to apply local hire policies to federally funded contracts. It also discontinued two pilot projects that were testing innovative contracting policies whose objective was to increase economic opportunity for communities impacted by long-term unemployment. These new measures represent a shift from the previous federal administration that empowered local communities to leverage federal public dollars to advance targeted economic opportunity for marginalized communities. Our region receives billions of dollars from the DOT to build transportation projects such as the electrification of Caltrain. Despite this shift in federal regulations, we hope local transportation decision makers explore creative policies to ensure transportation dollars can still advance opportunities for those that struggle the most to find stable and quality jobs.