ANNOUNCEMENT 03 Mar 2015In March 2015, the government of the United States of America announced a change in the access to public tenders.
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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on March 3, 2015 a proposal for a new pilot program that will explore ways to make it easier for states and cities to hire local residents for transportation projects. Federal contracting rules have traditionally prohibited the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration from allowing recipients to use contract provisions that do not directly relate to the performance of work but further social or economic goals, a rule that has the effect of prohibiting any local-hire provisions. The pilot program will allow both agencies to test and evaluate the merits of such provisions and whether the existing competitive bidding process can be improved. The proposed rule is subject to a 30-day comment period. In explaining the proposal, DOT stated that, "Many recipients and subrecipients 'of DOT funds' at the local governmental level have local hiring provisions that they otherwise apply to procurements that do not involve Federal funding. Such provisions are intended to ensure that the communities in which the projects are located benefit from the jobs that result from their investment of their funds, particularly for workers in low income areas. Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity. The choices that are made regarding transportation infrastructure can strengthen communities, create pathways to jobs and improve the quality of life for all Americans. Transportation investments and policies can improve access to jobs, education, and goods movement, while providing construction and operations jobs. As such, the DOT believes that local and other geographic-based hiring preferences are essential to promoting Ladders of Opportunity for the workers in these communities by ensuring that they participate in, and benefit from, the economic opportunities such projects present."