The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Support Comprehensive Analysis of Civil Rights Compliance Co-sponsor the Cardin Amendment No. 1542 to MAP-21 (S. 1813)
Advocacy Letter - 02/28/12
Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. Senate
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 210 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to co-sponsor the Equal Opportunity Assessment Amendment, Amendment No. 1542 offered by Senator Ben Cardin, D. Md. to S. 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The Leadership Conference believes that comprehensive and coordinated data collection is necessary to ensure compliance with civil rights laws, and the Equal Opportunity Assessment Amendment will provide a critical new resource to help meet this goal.
The Equal Opportunity Assessment Amendment would require a quadrennial national report that would analyze data on demographics and compliance with existing civil rights laws in federal transportation programs. The data currently collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation and its operating administrations are not reviewed and analyzed comprehensively and are collected using different methods with minimal public transparency. Thus, this new tool would provide a comprehensive analysis of compliance with civil rights laws in federally funded transportation programs and could assist federal, state, and local transportation officials in increasing transparency and accountability and avoiding lapses in civil rights safeguards.
The Equal Opportunity Assessment Amendment would improve efficiency and predictability, as it would help identify problems that agencies and recipients may take coordinated measures to address; and would ensure that governmental resources and guidance intended to target barriers to equal opportunity are doing so effectively. To date, there has been no comprehensive and nationwide assessment of the impact of transportation funding and projects on vulnerable populations protected by our nation’s civil rights laws. Communities of color, low-income people, and communities with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the decisions of both rural and urban transit agencies, given that they are the most transit dependent communities and negotiate their daily lives on mass transit. 1
In addition, the Equal Opportunity Assessment Amendment would promote interagency cooperation around the analysis of data on equal opportunity, by requiring the Secretary of Transportation to consult with the Secretary of Labor in assessing equity in employment and contracting opportunities related to federally-funded transportation programs. The collected data would include an analysis of impediments to equal opportunity and non-discrimination and recommendations for compliance. Women and minorities are underrepresented in transportation construction employment. Of the roughly eight million people employed in the transportation construction industry in 2008, African Americans comprised only 6 percent and women comprised less than 3 percent. 2 Latinos are disproportionately employed in lower-paying transportation sector jobs and are concentrated in fewer occupations. 3
We urge you to co-sponsor Amendment No. 1542, the Equal Opportunity Assessment Amendment to MAP-21.
President and CEO
Executive Vice President
1 Racial minorities are four times more likely than Whites to rely on public transportation for their work commute. Clara Reschovsky, “Journey to Work: 2000,” Census 2000 brief. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census, Bureau, 2004 at http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/c2bkr-33.pdf.
2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Household Data Annual Averages, Table 11: Employed Persons by Detailed Occupation, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin,” 2008.
3 Singley, Catherine. National Council of La Raza – Steering Economic Recovery: Latinos in the Transportation Sector, http://www.nclr.org/index.php/publications/steering_economic_recovery_latinos_in_the_ transportation_sector/. April 1, 2011.