Metro chief asks minority firms to bid on contracts

A metro ground breaking.
A metro ground breaking. Brian Watt/ KPCC

The head of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority spoke Friday at a breakfast sponsored by the Greater L.A. African American Chamber of Commerce.

Art Leahy is the chief of L.A. Metro, he says his agency wants local, small, and minority owned businesses to participate in all of the region’s transit projects.

"I wish you would come in and get to know us," he said. "Check out our website, learn how we think, for good and for ill, figure out how to sell us what we think we’re trying to buy, and let us know you so we know what your capabilities are."

Gene Hale is one of the contractors Leahy is targeting. The Chairman of the African American Chamber of Commerce, Hale owns a construction equipment and materials company. His company has supplied piping and concrete to some Metro projects, including Phase I of the Expo Line.

Hale believes firms like his could have done more, "there was not as much participation on that project as there should have been, so we want to make sure that EXPO II does not meet the same fate."

Hale doesn’t blame L.A. Metro directly, but asked the Metro CEO to do more to encourage it’s big contractors to hire more minority business and sub-contractors.

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