Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation held a two-day summit to help disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) compete for stimulus-funded contracts.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that DBEs have received more than $1.3 billion in Recovery funds:
We’ve made significant strides over the last year in reaching out to small businesses around the country and providing the tools they need to compete and to thrive in this tough economy. The contracts we have awarded have kept a lot of small businesses going and many jobs were saved or created.
In an interview with TV One’s Roland Martin, LaHood was asked what is being done to ensure implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is fair and equitable.
While touting the contracts awarded to date, LaHood said “we’re going to step it up”:
But – but we need to do better. We need to communicate more. I’ve – I’ve talked to the governors. The governors need to make sure that disadvantaged businesses know when they have the money and are ready to spend it. And we – we’re really going to – we’re going to step it up. Part of our job is to step it up and to get the information out to folks.
I talked to them [governors] when they were here in Washington for their annual governors meeting. I told them, “You need to get this information out,” and we’re going to continue to work 24/7 until every disadvantaged, women-owned business has the information about what money is in the states and how they can access it and how they can put people to work.
I want to give a shout-out to Roland. While so many African American leaders and advocates are scared to speak up, Roland has been a consistent voice for using “political power to advance economic power.”
BTW, Roland will moderate the National Action Network’s April 17th “Black Leadership 12-Month Action Plan Session” in New York City. The forum is free and open to the public.
To register for the event, go here.