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Federal government, NAACP look into MoDOT's stimulus contracts

Thursday, August 27, 2009 | 3:23 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — The federal government has agreed to investigate whether the Missouri Department of Transportation is sufficiently involving minority-owned businesses in projects that use federal stimulus dollars.

The Missouri chapter of the NAACP sought the investigation through Vice President Joe Biden, group president Mary Ratliff told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch .

"It is important that the African-American community is involved in the monies that come into our cities," she said. "We're a part of society, the economic growth of our communities."

The NAACP accuses MoDOT of not following federal guidelines that require the recipients of stimulus funds to "make vigorous efforts" to maximize the involvement of minority and women-owned businesses.

The NAACP maintains the department has awarded just 1 percent of stimulus contracts, and 16 out of 183 subcontracts, to minority contractors.

"That was a red flag to us that something was wrong," Ratliff said.

Lester Woods, external civil rights officer for MoDOT, said the NAACP's numbers are probably "an accurate reflection of the tracking up to that point."

He said the department welcomes the scrutiny of the federal inquiry, but that it is doing "what it can to expend the stimulus funds and have diversity within our work force."

He said MoDOT has posted information on its Web site so that any business owner can learn about contracting opportunities. Also, Woods pointed out that most of the stimulus projects contracted so far have been in rural areas, which has fewer minority contractors.

 


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr August 27, 2009 | 5:29 p.m.

Didn't the NAACP also know that on those work crews are many African American,Spanish and other races of citizens hired by those companies now doing the work?

Instead of worrying about what the State is doing with their money for construction projects why don't they get tougher on the crime situations in every major community in this State?

What is the NAACP jealous because more "crime ridden projects" are not being built with the Stimulus money?

Phooey on the NAACP anyway.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 27, 2009 | 6:01 p.m.

Wow. Mary Ratliff making some noise about a perceived slight against "colored people." Imagine that.
It would be a surprise to find any real illegalities considering Missouri has a Democrat as Governor and this country has a man of color as its president. Read my lips, Mary, you've won. Ted may be dead, but you've won. Take a break and bask in the sun.
Considering the following statement:
("...MoDOT has posted information on its Web site so that any business owner can learn about contracting opportunities. Also, Woods pointed out that most of the stimulus projects contracted so far have been in rural areas, which has fewer minority contractors."), it seems to me that the only problem is Mary Ratliff.
Keep swinging and swatting at flies that don't exist, Mary....
(Christ all mighty, people like you are destined to set your race back fifty years or more.)

(Report Comment)

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