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House Adopts Bass Amendment for Transit Agencies

Congresswoman Karen Bass

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation authored by Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) that would allow local transit agencies like Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to prioritize hiring local residents for highway and transit projects. The amendment was adopted as part of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.

Currently, federal regulations bar transit agencies that receive any federal assistance from implementing local hire policies for construction and operations projects. If signed into law, state and local transit agencies will also have the flexibility to focus their hiring in low-income and underemployed neighborhoods by applying geographically targeted preferences.

“Chambers of commerce, local government officials and economists all agree that allowing transit agencies to adopt local hire policies just makes sense,” said Rep. Bass. “Local taxpayers are funding the majority of transit projects, like the Crenshaw-LAX Lightrail Line. This policy will ensure that local tax dollars are creating local jobs in the communities that need them the most.”

“Metro is extremely appreciative of Representative Karen Bass for championing this amendment.  This amendment would allow transportation agencies, like Metro, to establish local hire programs to build transportation projects with significant non-federal funding, to help create jobs by incentivizing the development of non-federal projects by leveraging the federal investment,” said Arthur T. Leahy, Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “With Los Angeles County voters repeatedly voting to direct a portion of their local sales taxes to be used for transportation projects, Metro would welcome the ability to establish local hire programs on partial federally funded projects to build a better, stronger and more mobile Los Angeles.”

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