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

May 25, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) 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 37th District, 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.” 

“As our country focuses on rebuilding our economy and infrastructure, we have to invest in policies to build a more equitable future and to tear down physical and economic barriers in our communities. The Build Local, Hire Local Act will ensure that underrepresented and underserved communities can access federal infrastructure opportunities that create jobs and spur economic growth,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It will also make sure that we are hiring from those same communities to get the job done, with better wages and better working conditions. I am proud to lead this bill with Congresswoman Bass and I will keep fighting alongside her to make bold, equitable reforms in American infrastructure.”  

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.