Hundreds packed a Town Hall Meeting on the California High Speed Rail Project at the California Science Center on Friday March, 18, to hear about contracting disparities and opportunities for California businesses.
The Town Hall was convened by Senator Curren D. Price, Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus and sponsored by the California Legislative Black Caucus, the California Latino Legislative Caucus, the California Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and Assembly Member Cathleen Galgiani, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on High Speed Rail.
The meeting brought together elected officials, business leaders and stakeholders to explore the issues surrounding public contracting, including implementation of the California High Speed Rail Project. Dozens also took advantage of the public discussion forum.
Discussions explored the disparities that may exist in current contracting practices and ways to bolster opportunities for the thousands of small businesses throughout the state.
The meeting also gave the business community the chance to hear directly from Roelof van Ark, executive director of the California High Speed Rail Authority, about its outreach efforts to local, small and minority based firms.
Panelists also included Thomas Hart, VP, Government Affairs and General Counsel for the US High Speed Rail Association; Olivia Fonseca, Deputy Director of Business and Economic Opportunity for the California Department of Transportation; and Tashai Smith, Director Small Business Programs, LA County Metropolitan Authority.
“We are talking about $40 billion in contracting opportunities for Californians and we want to make sure that the pool of contractors are not only skillful, but also diverse,” said Senator Price, who also chairs the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Procurement.
Other legislators attending the meeting were Senators Lou Correa and Alan Lowenthal, and Assembly members Steven Bradford, Mike Davis and Warren Furutani.