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    House Democrats Unveil $494-Billion Surface Transportation Bill

    A Message from COMTO's President & CEO

     

    Led by Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the INVEST in America Act is a proposed $494-billion, five-year surface transportation bill, which includes a 46% increase in spending for highway and transit programs. The prime components of the bill are:
    Highways: $319 billion
    Transit: $105 billion
    Highway safety: $10 billion
    Passenger rail: $60 billion

     

    The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) fully supports the introduction of the INVEST in America Act by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio. The impact of COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on minorities in the transportation industry and the areas they serve. The INVEST in America Act and the increased funding for public transit options are critical to serving the needs of the minority workforce and the agencies that serve them in urban, suburban and rural areas.

     

    Please call your member of Congress to show your support. Let them know you support the INVEST in America Act!

     

    Greeting COMTO Family,

     

    As you know, COMTO has been a strong supporter of the of the $760 Billion Moving Forward Framework proposed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that would make transformative infrastructure investments across the U.S. This legislation will provide critical support to all modes of the transportation industry as well as offset some of the extraordinary direct costs and revenue losses which have occurred in response to the COVID-19 crisis in 2020.

     

    A critical part of infrastructure are the partnerships that small and minority-owned businesses have with the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. The time has come for COMTO members to show strong support for the reauthorization of the DBE program and to submit testimony that demonstrates positive experiences with the DBE programs ameliorating discrimination.

     

    The DBE program, first established in 1982, is a legislatively mandated USDOT program that applies to federally-assisted contracts issued by USDOT recipients, such as state transportation agencies. The DBE reauthorization will be reviewed:

    1. To create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly
    2. To mend and ensure perpetuation of the DBE program
    3. To make the DBE program more effective and efficient for all participants

     

    Goal: COMTO Members should show strong support for the upcoming reauthorization of the DOT’s DBE Program.  COMTO Members should prepare letters of testimony for consideration by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and for insertion into the Congressional Record as part of the official record.

     

    Key Action Steps:

    • COMTO members should prepare letters for submission to the T&I Committee as testimony of the success of the DBE program.
    • Please address your letter or statement to The Honorable Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, The United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.Send your letter to COMTO National at info@comto.org by July 15, 2020. COMTO National will compile the letters and present them directly to the staff at the Committee.
    • Please state that you are responding to the request from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for a letter or statement on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program.
    • Please be sure to put on letterhead and include your company’s name, specific projects if applicable and the COMTO chapter with which you are associated.
    • The body of your letter or statement should articulate your experience, and examples of discrimination before, during and after your company’s participation in the DBE program. Include if applicable, access to capital, bonding, experiences dealing with your State’s Department of Transportation certification process, other entities with a certification based on the DBE program, and relationship with general/prime contractors.
    • Please include any procurement issues you may have had with your general/prime. It is very important to include how the program enhanced your company’s opportunities in the highway, transit and airport construction industries and the consequences if the program were not to receive reauthorization.

     

    I want to thank you in advance for your support of this very important process. Please let me know if you have any questions and we look forward to receiving your responses.

     

    Sincerely,

     

     

     

    A. Bradley Mims
    President and CEO, COMTO National

     

     

     

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