The following letter was addressed to Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, U. S. Department of Transportation, by groups of minority companies in regard to contracts for the construction of the planned Companion Bridge to the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River joining Ohio and Kentucky:
Secretary of Transportation
U. S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20590
March 20, 2023
I attended the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) $3.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project Networking Meet & Greet and Outreach on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at the Radisson Hotel in Covington, Kentucky, and I am extremely saddened to report that despite my hopes that things were about to take a turn for the better toward economic equality and diversity, I found that it was business as usual. The Walsh/Kokosing Joint Venture team already has awarded the project to the chosen majority contractors leaving the minimal crumbs as scraps for the disenfranchised Blacks and minorities.
The proposals just went out last week and are not due in until June, yet the pie has already been sliced before we can even get to the table, ensuring no significant Black or minority participation. All four companies that were there, Walsh, Kokosing, AECOM, Parsons are all working together on the same team. This is clearly collusion and contract steering and at worst a furtherance of the systematic exclusion of Black contractors and labor from achieving equitable and fair economic opportunity.
You would think that after the revealing of such massive political corruption with the recent bribery scandal in Ohio the authorities would be conscious of the uneven playing field we face as Black and minority contractors. Not only do Black and minority contractors have to battle against the systemic discrimination which has incorporated itself in the process of government contracting, it must also contend with the obstacles of a corrupt political system that has no concern for equality, diversity and providing economic opportunity to all.
The crumbs which have been served up to us in the past we will no longer accept. Our families will no longer accept our being placated and appeased by less than what is our right, our entitlement. No more second-class citizenry. No more electing puppets who serve other masters, rather than those who elect them.
Our organization the American Center for Economic Equality/Black Contractors Group, along with many other construction companies, construction managers, consultants, architectural firms, engineering firms, material suppliers, trucking companies, community groups, and residents are very angry, outraged, and disappointed to say the least, at the nonexistence of Black participation in any leadership role at the top. We are demanding inclusion.
The ACEE/Black Contractors Group says the demand is for representation that leads to fair and equitable treatment. Representation will result into business growth, job creation and wealth production in our communities. Lack of representation continues to feed economic deprivation and unemployment.
“It’s now time for action,” “We are encouraged by you, Secretary Buttigieg.” We believe you are a man of your word with no tolerance for the situation you inherited, and we hope you will continue to work with us to solve this national epidemic exclusion of Black contractors and construction workers being an afterthought on construction projects being financed with the assistance of our Black tax dollars.
But time is of the essence and we are proceeding to organize a shutdown of the $3.6 billion dollar Brent Spence Corridor Project to illustrate the severity of this, devastating ongoing crisis.
Please visit the attached links below from President Joe Biden and Secretary of Transportation
Pete Buttigieg regarding Blacks being shut out of construction projects:
Norman K. Edwards, President
American Center for Economic Equality
Black Contractors Group