Transportation

Houston State Senator Tells TxDOT That Minority Businesses Are Being Overlooked

Transportation commissioners heard concerns over a Houston-area project.

State Senator Borris Miles speaks before the Texas Transportation Commission.

Minority contractors appeared before the Texas Transportation Commission to state their concerns about the State Highway 288 Toll Project. That $800 million project will create ten miles of toll lanes between Harris and Brazoria Counties.

TxDOT says it would hire 12 percent of contractors for the project from its disadvantaged business program. But State Sen. Borris  Miles says he’s worried that goal is falling short.

“The first report we received showed that DBE’s received only 4 percent of the project’s dollars,” said Miles, who added that African-American firms were getting less than 1 percent.

Commissioners also heard from Karen Becerra, who runs a Houston project management firm. She says minority hiring goals need to translate into actual business.

“The true measurement is going to be in the retention of that particular company finishing the project at the end of the day,” said Becerra.  

Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said she’s already met with local TxDOT officials and the project developer to put together a scorecard to make sure minority hiring goals are being met.

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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