LOS ANGELES - Disadvantaged Business Enterprises
(DBEs) were recognized Thursday for their contributions to the design and construction of the Alameda Corridor rail cargo expressway.
During a reception at the City Club in downtown Los Angeles, elected officials paid tribute to
DBEs. Among the more than approximately 200 people attending the event were ACTA Governing Board member and Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan, and federal, state and local elected officials from throughout the Corridor communities.
Through the Alameda Corridor Business Outreach Program (ACBOP), ACTA has exceeded its goal of awarding 22 percent of Alameda Corridor work to qualified DBE firms - generally small minority- or women-owned companies.
Their contributions have run the gamut - from engineering and design work to actual construction, from on-call right-of-way services to materials procurement, from prime contractors to subcontractors.
"Los Angeles has the richest pool of women- and minority-owned businesses in the country," Riordan said. "Thanks to the dedication of ACTA and the Alameda Corridor Business Outreach Program, we have far exceeded even our own city's expectations for contracting qualified businesses. These companies are providing the talent and drive that will ensure Los Angeles' place as the capital city of the 21st century."
"One of ACTA's objectives has been to ensure that qualified firms representing the widest possible cross-section of our diverse region share in the economic benefits of the project," said Los Angeles City Councilman Rudy
Svorinich, Jr., chairman of the ACTA Governing Board. "I'm pleased to report we have achieved that, while at the same time increasing competition by making sure businesses of all sizes have been aware of contract opportunities with the Corridor."
Among the methods used to attract DBEs are technical assistance workshops, advertisements about contract opportunities placed in specialty publications, and networking workshops where representatives of firms are introduced to one another so that they may form partnerships to bid for work. ACTA also has divided large projects into phases to create contracts suited to the bonding capacity of smaller firms.
The Alameda Corridor Business Outreach Program is funded by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Economic Development, and ACTA. It is administered by the Los Angeles Minority Business Opportunity Committee.
ACTA, a joint-powers agency of the cities and ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is building a 20-mile railroad freight expressline linking the ports to the transcontinental rail yards just east of downtown Los Angeles. The project will speed the flow of cargo and ease traffic congestion by eliminating conflicts at more than 200 at-grade railroad crossings. Construction of the $2.4 billion project began in May 1997 and is scheduled for completion in 2002.
To qualify as a DBE with ACTA, a company must be certified by the City of Los Angeles, Caltrans or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. A DBE must either be owned by a member of an ethnic minority group or a woman and fall below annual sales standards that vary with the type of business.