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Equitable Recovery in Minnesota: Transportation. In Partnership: ISAIAH Organizing Apprenticeship Project PolicyLink. Social Equity Caucus June 11, 2010. About Us.

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Equitable Recovery in Minnesota: Transportation

In Partnership:


Organizing Apprenticeship Project


Social Equity Caucus

June 11, 2010

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About Us

ISAIAH is a collection of congregations who have committed themselves to each other in order to build power for a worldview that prioritizes racial and economic justice.

The Organizing Apprenticeship Project works to advance racial, cultural, social and economic justice in Minnesota through organizer and leadership training, policy research and strategic convening work.

PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®.

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Overview of Analysis

  • Who benefited from the influx of ARRA transportation dollars to MN?

    • What types of projects were funded?

    • What places were invested in?

    • What people benefited from the added jobs and business?

    • Was the process equitable?

  • What does this tell us about what we need to do to ensure transportation investments benefit all communities?

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  • Existing analyses

  • Created GIS maps using data on certified transportation projects and demographic data

  • Data provided by MN/DOT on DBE contracts

  • Information from conversations with state employees

  • Focus groups

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Who benefits and who gets left out?

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The Transportation Challenge

  • Automobile-centered transportation policy and system leaves many with limited options

    • People of color have limited access to cars

    • Poverty compounds the problem

  • People of color and women are underrepresented in the construction field

    If you don’t have transportation up here it’s hard to get a job…lot of temp services first question is – do you have transportation.

    - Fredrick (St. Cloud Resident)

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Economic Crisis:Unemployment Trends in MN

Source: MN Dept. of Economic Development and Employment

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June 2009 Unemployment Rates

  • National unemployment rate – 9.5%

    Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

    • African-Americans - 14.7%

    • Hispanics - 12.2%

      Source: Center for American Progress

      While everyone is hit by the economic crisis, communities of color are hit far harder than others

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Who benefits and who gets left out?

…There is no way to catch a bus straight to north side. We need more accessible routes to the Northside, more buses, and lower fares.

- Maren (North Minneapolis Resident)

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  • MN Received approximately $600 million in ARRA Transportation Funds

  • Approximately 7-8% investment in public transit

    • Just above the minimum allowable transit investment

  • Little to no public input into the project selection process

Source: Transit for Livable Communities

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Who benefits and who gets left out?

…there’s an equity issue. The high frequency routes are all concentrated in SW Minneapolis, which is wealthier, less diverse… So, the pieces of the transit that DO work, work better for wealthier areas.

  • David (North Minneapolis Resident)

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Poverty Rates & ARRA Transportation Investments

Investment is not concentrated in high poverty counties.

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Unemployment & ARRA Transportation Investment

Highest investments are not in counties with highest unemployment rates.

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Poverty & Highway Projects

Highway projects are in the outer suburban ring - outside of high poverty areas

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People of Color & Highway Projects

Highway projects are not in areas with the highest percentage of people of color

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Who benefits and who gets left out?

…it’s particularly bad for women and people of color [in the construction business]. They have this hypothesis, if you are a woman you are not cut out to be a construction worker…so you have it harder than men. If you are a Latino, you are hard headed and you cross the border illegally to come to our country and if you are a Black person, you are just a nigger….all these hypothesis and pre-judgment.

- Ariel (Construction worker and graduate of Environmental and Construction Training Program)

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Who is getting the business & jobs?

  • 6% of the total dollars under contract as of June 31st were benefiting DBE

  • 900 jobs created/sustained as a result of ARRA

  • Unclear who is getting the jobs

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Tracking Process

  • MN/DOT's Office of Civil Rights regularly collects information from contractors on minority and women work hours.

  • Information is inputted and analyzed for only one week in the year.

    • Performance and trends are based on this information.

    • Federal government assess the states performance.

    • The state assesses contractor performance in relation to set goals.

      Source: Hope Jensen, Program Director, MnDOT Office of Civil Rights

      • This process does not achieve the goals equal employment opportunity.

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July 2009 Participation

  • 3.3% women participation on MN/DOT projects

    • Down from 4.1 % women participation on MN/DOT projects

    • an 18 year low.

    • Extrapolate: approximately 30 jobs for women from ARRA.

  • 6.1% people of color working on MN/DOT contracts

    • Down from 6.4 % in 2008

    • Percentages has remained fairly stagnant since 1992.

    • Minorities are nearly 12% of the MN population.

    • Extrapolation: approximately 55 jobs for minorities from ARRA.

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(Accountability & Transparency)

Who benefits? Who is left out?

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Public Input and Transparency

  • Limited (if any) public input in the selection of projects.

  • Workforce participation information has been difficult to access

Source: Transit for Livable Communities

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Who benefits? Who is left out?

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  • Projects:

    • Not enough investment in public transit

  • Places (& People):

    • Investments are not targeting areas hit hardest by recession.

  • People (Jobs & Contracts)

    • People of color and women are grossly underrepresented in MN construction jobs.

    • DBE contractors are not seeing large benefits from ARRA.

  • Process:

    • Limited public input into the decision-making process.

    • Workforce participation information is difficult to access.

    • Process for monitoring and enforcement not achieving participation goals.

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  • People of color and low-income people are not receiving the maximum benefits of ARRA.

    • These people have been disproportionately hit in this recession.

    • They have been prioritized in ARRA policy.

  • Information on workforce participation and tracking process is not publicly accessible.

  • Without a commitment to tracking and enforcing EEO requirements, ARRA investment will reinforce racial and gender disparities.

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Preliminary Recommendations

  • Increase investment in public transportation for low-income communities.

  • Allocate appropriate level of resources towards monitoring of workforce participation –hiring and retention.

  • Implement effective consequences for non-compliance.

  • Establish community oversight committees for major contracts.

  • Provide adequate public input in transportation planning and decision-making.

  • ½ of 1% of projects for recruitment, training, placement and retention

  • Ensure DBE contractors receive fair share of public investments.

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Advocacy + Research

  • ISAIAH held meetings with legislators and MN/DOT throughout the study and shared early findings

  • ISAIAH held community meetings with over 500 people and legislators to share preliminary findings

  • Transit and Oversight Committee organized a hearing and requested a presentation on findings

  • Legislators requested MN/DOT to speak to findings of poor workforce participation

  • MN/DOT recently agreed to allocate ½ of 1% of highway funds for workforce development for people of color and women.

    • Equals over $6 million over next four years.

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Contact Information

Contact Us

Doran Schrantz



schrantz@isaiah-mn.org612-333-1260 x211

Jermaine Toney

Organizing Apprenticeship Project

Lead Policy Analyst



Shireen Malekafzali


Senior Associate