BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana, along with four other states and D.C., signed a pledge Tuesday to leverage infrastructure spending to benefit underserved communities.

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., joined state transportation leaders from California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, and Michigan to sign the Equity in Infrastructure Pledge.

According to a news release, the pledge works “to secure commitments from public agencies 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.”

“Creating pathways to equity and ensuring a balanced infrastructure agenda is advanced, especially in underserved communities, was a commitment I made when I became AASHTO President, and one that DOTD and AASHTO have been striving towards with much success,” said Wilson. “Pledges such as the EIP are critical to this work and I am glad to see so many other states support this effort, holding themselves and their agencies publicly accountable for such important work.”

According to the Equity in Infrastructure website, the pledge aims to:

  • Increase the number, size and proportion of contracting opportunities going to HUBs;
  • Increase the number, size and proportion of contracting opportunities going to HUBs as prime contractors;
  • Streamline the administration of contracting with HUBs to centralize certification, improve payment time, and standardize transparent data collection;
  • Increase the amount and type of appropriate financing available to HUBs aiming to meet infrastructure contracts by working with private and public partners; and
  • Expand the number of signatories to this Pledge.