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Bass, Gillibrand Introduce Legislation To Ensure Local Communities Benefit First From Infrastructure Projects

July 31, 2019
Press Release
LOS ANGELES - Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a sweeping infrastructure package to reform federal infrastructure programs and projects. The Build Local Hire Local Act would help raise wages and labor standards, strengthen unions, invest in American manufacturing, and create new opportunity for Americans who are struggling to get high-quality jobs.

“When a new infrastructure project is started in South Los Angeles, it should be our community who gets the first shot at the new jobs associated with completing the project,” said Representative Bass. “It’s a common-sense step for our government to make it easier for companies to generate jobs in the very counties and states where their transportation projects are located. Communities shouldn’t have to wait for infrastructure projects to be finished to benefit from the investment. That’s exactly what this bill helps address.”

“Too much of our nation’s infrastructure is in disrepair, and we urgently need to get to work rebuilding it,” said Senator Gillibrand. “But when we do, we also need to make sure we’re not repeating our government’s mistakes from last century and building barriers between marginalized communities and everyone else. That’s why I’m incredibly proud to introduce the Build Local Hire Local Act with Congresswoman Bass. Our groundbreaking new bill would make sure that when we get to work on rebuilding our nation’s highways and other infrastructure, we are building up and repairing all of our communities – including the marginalized ones that got passed over the last time we were supposed to do the job. It would also make sure that we are hiring from those same communities to get the job done, with better wages and better working conditions. It’s time to bring new life and new energy to our communities, it’s time to bring new opportunities and new chances to the people who live in them, and it’s time to make it the highest of priorities that taxpayer dollars be spent on projects that adequately pay and protect our workers, expand worker rights, and rebuild American manufacturing. With this bill, we will take a massive step toward all of those goals. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to support this bill, and I encourage all New Yorkers and people across the country to join me in fighting to pass it too.”

“Competing in the 21st century means investing in infrastructure and recession-proof jobs that can’t be shipped overseas,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Local Hire Programs help cities like Los Angeles lift hardworking people into the middle class with employment that transforms the foundation of their communities, families, and future.”

Specifically, the Build Local Hire Local Act would do the following:

  • Ensure that the communities where infrastructure projects are taking place are the first to benefit from the job and training opportunities that those projects provide.
  • Create high-quality local construction jobs for people who need them most through targeted hiring practices that use registered apprenticeships and coordinate with state and local workforce development boards.
  • Encourage the use of best-value contracting, registered apprenticeships, and neutrality in union organizing to ensure projects place a premium not just on the bottom line but also on the quality of jobs, safety, equity, climate resiliency, and environmental justice.
  • Dedicate investment to struggling areas and connect communities to greater opportunity through new performance measures and data on accessibility to transportation and a new $25 billion Connect Communities Grant Program to redevelop marginalized communities.
  • Provide pathways to careers in construction, specialty trades, and other infrastructure jobs through a new $5 billion Building American Infrastructure and Careers Program to support training partnerships led by unions, community organizations, and education and training providers.

This legislation has been endorsed by AFL-CIO; America Walks; Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living; BlueGreen Alliance; Center for American Progress; Center for Law and Social Policy; Center for Neighborhood Technology; Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF); Diversify NY, LLC; GA Trade-Up; Georgia Stand-Up; Green For All; Jobs to Move America; Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA); LivableStreets Alliance; Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Madison Area Bus Advocates; Moving People Transportation Coalition; NAACP; National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD); National Skills Coalition; National Urban League; New Rochelle, NY, Mayor Noam Bramson; New York State Senator Rachel May; North America’s Building Trades Unions; People’s Action; People for Mobility Justice; PolicyLink; Sierra Club; Smart Growth America; The U.S. Conference of Mayors; Transportation Choices; Transportation for America; Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; United Steelworkers (USW); Urban Jobs Task Force; and Workers Center of Central New York.

Find detailed specifics about the legislation here and the full text of the bill here.