House Unanimously Passes Rep. McNerney’s Amendment to Help Socially & Economically Disadvantaged Small Businesses
Mar 6, 2015
The U.S. House of Representatives this week unanimously passed an amendment written by Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-09) intended to spur development around the nation’s passenger rail stations. Congressman McNerney’s amendment would direct Amtrak, the nation’s largest passenger rail carrier, to consider the proposals of economically and socially disadvantaged small businesses as it decides how to design stations and invest in the future of Amtrak stations and surrounding communities.
“Many of our communities have had a tough time recovering from the economic downturn of the last few years. A great opportunity for growth and recovery is to focus on socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses located in our hard hit city centers," said Rep. McNerney. "These businesses often lack access to capital, and the train stations in places like Stockton and Antioch can be catalysts for economic growth in those neighborhoods. Amtrak should allow these small businesses, owned by minorities, women, and other deserving groups, to have their request for proposals considered in station development schemes and give them information to compete for contracts based on federal subsidies as Amtrak makes investments in its station facilities. As these small businesses grow and create jobs, the overall quality of life will improve in our local communities.
The amendment was included as part of HR 749, which authorizes $7.2 billion for passenger rail services over the next four years, including $5.8 billion for Amtrak and $1.2 billion in grants to States.
“Thank you Congressman McNerney for introducing your amendment to the Passenger Rail Reform Act that encourages the participation of socially and economically disadvantaged businesses in transportation proposals,” said Donna DeMartino, General Manager/CEO of San Joaquin RTD. “San Joaquin County has a vast public transportation network and it is important for women and other socially and economically disadvantaged businesses to be included in public transportation proposals and economic development opportunities.”
“Thank you Congressman McNerney for introducing this amendment,” said Contra Costa Transportation Authority Executive Director Randy Iwasaki. “Transportation plays a crucial role in facilitating a strong economy and creating complete communities with opportunities to live, work and play. Creating opportunities to put more women, minorities and small business owners to work on and near our transportation system improves both our economy and our communities.”
“Thank you for offering an amendment to H.R. 749 that will allow for women-owned businesses and other socially and economically disadvantaged firms to be considered for future station development opportunities around Amtrak stations,” said Jeanne Krieg, Chief Executive Officer of Tri Delta Transit. “This amendment will make sure that the process is more inclusive while keeping the intent to strengthen multi-modal connections, capturing development-related streams, and better leveraging station assets intact.”