The Equity in Infrastructure Project (EIP) has launched to improve public contracting practices by creating more opportunities for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) to build generational wealth and reduce the racial wealth gap by creating more prime, joint venture, and equity contracting opportunities for these firms.
Through its pledge, EIP said it will work to secure commitments from public agencies to increase the number, size, and scope of contracts going to HUBs by facilitating access and reducing barriers to compete for business.
EIP defines HUBs as including firms formally designated as DBEs, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE), Small Business Enterprises (SBE), as well as any other business classification used locally in the U.S. intended to increase the participation of underutilized firms, which can vary by state, region, and municipality.
EIP was founded by Denver International Airport CEO Phillip A. Washington, former US Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari, and others in anticipation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
EIP launches with the following First Mover signers of its pledge:
- Chicago Transit Authority – Dorval R. Carter, Jr., President
- Denver International Airport – Phillip A. Washington, CEO
- Port of Long Beach – Mario Cordero, Executive Director
- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – Adel H. Hagekhalil, General Manager
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) – Leslie S. Richards, General Manager and CEO
The pledge was finalized after the above five leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. in December 2021 alongside senior leaders from the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, including representatives from USDOT, the Environmental Protection Agency, HNTB, AECOM, The James Irvine Foundation, members of Congress, and others to work with this initiative.
Starting from the baseline of their current actions and initiatives, by December 2025, pledge signers will work to increase the number, size, and percentage of HUBs growing to prime contractors, participating in joint ventures or as equity participants.