NEW YORK (PIX11) — The MTA is poised to spend about $55 billion in the next few years to try and rapidly improve the system.
One of its main goals in spending that money is to make sure women and minority owned businesses get a fair share.
“We went from a tiny little company flipping houses to doing millions of dollars in revenue each year,” said Everett Perry, co-founder Urban Echospaces.
Perry said it is all thanks to a training and mentorship program run by the MTA. It taught him how to navigate the mountain of paperwork required to get certified for, bid on, and then deliver government contracts — along with all the safety and compliance requirements in between.
Now one of his missions is to tell other small minority and women owned businesses they can do it too.
“Once someone makes it through that initial phase of doing your first project not being scared, the moment they do that, they will never be scared again,” Perry said.
The MTA is now trying to kick these programs into overdrive with billions in projected revenue from congestion pricing to be used to rapidly improve the system and make it more accessible.
The person in charge of making sure women and minority businesses get their fair cut is newly announced chief diversity officer Lourdes Zapata.
“With billions of dollars of contracts in the pipeline, this is a really great opportunity for small women and minority owned businesses to get their foot in the door,” she said.
The MTA already has a decent track record of funneling money to these contractors with $1.4 billion going to women and minority owner employers last year, representing a little more than 32% of the dollars spent.
One of the biggest areas of focus for the MTA right now is helping scale women and minority owned contractors to a point where they can take on some of the big civic work at the front end of projects, including excavating, steelwork and concrete.