“Small businesses really remain the economic engine of our state,” explained Senator Curren Price. “But we must ensure opportunities for these businesses as well as communities in California that need a voice the most. It is critical that the High Speed Rail Authority make the right decisions to ensure fair representation by California small and disadvantaged businesses on this major project,” he said.
On January 5, 2012, state Senator Curren D. Price brought together at the State Capitol small business owners from throughout the state to weigh in on impediments to their successful and robust participation in the High Speed Rail project.
Throughout the past year, Senator Price has led the effort to ensure that the California High Speed Rail Authority sets standards for small business involvement in contracting during all phases of this massive public works project by holding Town Hall meetings, authoring legislation and sponsoring informational hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Procurement.
Staff from the Authority testified that they are working towards a 30 percent goal for participation by small and disadvantaged business enterprises on the project and are currently in the process of accepting public comments on that proposal through mid-January.
However, to date, as public comment at the hearing showed, many businesses have had negative experiences in obtaining contracts and may not have confidence or assurances that the Authority will be able to ensure participation by small business subcontractors once prime contracts are awarded. Similarly, concern was raised that the Authority has not collected data from current contractors about participation of small and disadvantaged business enterprises to date, and may not be offering equitable outreach and awareness efforts about participation opportunities in many regions throughout the state.