LA Times Editorial: Can L.A. find a way to create local jobs from local transit projects?
A bill would allow projects such as the Crenshaw light-rail line to give hiring preference to area workers. It’s a good idea.
Los Angeles County has embarked on a major public works project: the Crenshaw light-rail line, a multibillion-dollar investment in public transit construction that will dramatically change the area’s transportation landscape. But will it change the local economic landscape as well?
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) has introduced the Local Hire Act, which would change federal transportation law to give state and local agencies the ability to include geographical hiring targets in bid specifications for highway and public transportation projects, even if they receive federal funding. Her office notes that several federal agencies allow preferential treatment for local businesses and workers. The Department of Housing and Urban Development even requires that recipients of housing and community development funds first try to hire people who live in public housing and then target workers in the surrounding areas.