WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is made permanent and will be expanded and elevated with the passage of this historic legislation. This action allows the agency to increase their programs and outreach to the Nation’s more than 9 million minority-owned businesses.
“President Biden has made clear his commitment to not just rebuilding to how things were before COVID-19, but to building back better and more equitably,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo. “The Minority Business Development Agency is ready to step into this historic moment and build on its success – because we recognize that America’s road to recovery runs through our minority business community. Making MBDA a statutory Agency provides MBDA with the authorities, workforce and resources needed to help level the playing field on behalf of minority businesses and minority entrepreneurs.”
“The Department of Commerce and MBDA play a pivotal role in promoting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves. “This legislation is transformative and signifies a new era in minority business development and progress toward addressing the long-standing racial disparities in access to capital, contracts, and business ecosystems.”
“Created by Executive Order in 1969, the Minority Business Development Agency is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises,” said Miguel Estién, Acting National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency. “The Minority Business Development Act of 2021 is one of the most significant pieces of legislation impacting the minority business community in the last 50 years. I look forward to helping lead the Agency’s transformation at this critical juncture in our nation’s history.”
The bill expands the geographic reach of the MBDA by authorizing the creation of regional MBDA offices, rural business centers, and increasing the number and scope of existing programs.
The Act also:
Creates a presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development to lead the agency.
Increases the MBDA’s grant-making capacity to partner with community and national nonprofits engaged in private and public sector development as well as research.
Mandates the creation of the Parren J. Mitchel Entrepreneurship Education Grants Program to cultivate the next generation of minority entrepreneurs on the campuses HBCUs and MSIs across the Nation.
Creates a council to advise the Under Secretary on supporting MBEs; and
Authorizes the Under Secretary to coordinate federal MBE programs.
The MBDA will report on the implementation milestones of the Minority Business Development Act of 2021 through the website, www.MBDA.gov.
Sources: White House and MBDA • Cover Photo: bdpatoday
WASHINGTON (BDPA-DC) — “Infrastructure Week” closes today with new DOW, S&P 500, and Nasdaq records on Wall Street this week along with the passage of an epic infrastructure bill on Capitol Hill. The White House announced the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness.
For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated an “infrastructure week” without ever agreeing to build infrastructure. The President promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. After the President put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature.
This Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.
According to the White House, this historic legislation will:
Deliver clean water to all American families and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines. Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will invest $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water for households, businesses, schools, and child care centers all across the country. From rural towns to struggling cities, the legislation will invest in water infrastructure and eliminate lead service pipes, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.
Ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet. Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet, by one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural communities throughout the country. And, according to the latest OECD data, among 35 countries studied, the United States has the second highest broadband costs. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation will also help lower prices for internet service and help close the digital divide, so that more Americans can afford internet access.
Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users. In the United States, 1 in 5 miles of highways and major roads, and 45,000 bridges, are in poor condition. The legislation will reauthorize surface transportation programs for five years and invest $110 billion in additional funding to repair our roads and bridges and support major, transformational projects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal makes the single largest investment in repairing and reconstructing our nation’s bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system. It will rebuild the most economically significant bridges in the country as well as thousands of smaller bridges. The legislation also includes the first ever Safe Streets and Roads for All program to support projects to reduce traffic fatalities, which claimed more than 20,000 lives in the first half of 2021.
Improve transportation options for millions of Americans and reduce greenhouse emissions through the largest investment in public transit in U.S. history. America’s public transit infrastructure is inadequate – with a multibillion-dollar repair backlog, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. Communities of color are twice as likely to take public transportation and many of these communities lack sufficient public transit options. The transportation sector in the United States is now the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation includes $39 billion of new investment to modernize transit, in addition to continuing the existing transit programs for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorization. In total, the new investments and reauthorization in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal provide $89.9 billion in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years — the largest Federal investment in public transit in history. The legislation will expand public transit options across every state in the country, replace thousands of deficient transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles, and improve accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Upgrade our nation’s airports and ports to strengthen our supply chains and prevent disruptions that have caused inflation. This will improve U.S. competitiveness, create more and better jobs at these hubs, and reduce emissions. Decades of neglect and underinvestment in our infrastructure have left the links in our goods movement supply chains struggling to keep up with our strong economic recovery from the pandemic. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will make the fundamental changes that are long overdue for our nation’s ports and airports so this will not happen again. The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. According to some rankings, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 of airports worldwide. Our ports and waterways need repair and reimagination too. The legislation invests $17 billion in port infrastructure and waterways and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. Modern, resilient, and sustainable port, airport, and freight infrastructure will strengthen our supply chains and support U.S. competitiveness by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce and reduce the environmental impact on neighboring communities.
Make the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. U.S. passenger rail lags behind the rest of the world in reliability, speed, and coverage. China already has 22,000 miles of high-speed rail, and is planning to double that by 2035. The legislation positions rail to play a central role in our transportation and economic future, investing $66 billion in additional rail funding to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic. This is the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak’s creation, 50 years ago and will create safe, efficient, and climate-friendly alternatives for moving people and freight.
Build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. U.S. market share of plug-in EV sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. That needs to change. The legislation will invest $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers in the United States. This is a critical step in the President’s strategy to fight the climate crisis and it will create good U.S. manufacturing jobs. The legislation will provide funding for deployment of EV chargers along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within communities to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop. This investment will support the President’s goal of building a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers to accelerate the adoption of EVs, reduce emissions, improve air quality, and create good-paying jobs across the country.
Upgrade our power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy across the country and deploy cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero-emissions future. According to the Department of Energy, power outages cost the U.S. economy up to $70 billion annually. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal’s more than $65 billion investment includes the largest investment in clean energy transmission and grid in American history. It will upgrade our power infrastructure, by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewables and clean energy, while lowering costs. And it will fund new programs to support the development, demonstration, and deployment of cutting-edge clean energy technologies to accelerate our transition to a zero-emission economy.
Make our infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events. Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when their roads wash out, power goes down, or schools get flooded. Last year alone, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each – a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. People of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events. The legislation makes our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber-attacks, with an investment of over $50 billion to protect against droughts, heat, floods and wildfires, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. The legislation is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.
Deliver the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mines, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells. In thousands of rural and urban communities around the country, hundreds of thousands of former industrial and energy sites are now idle – sources of blight and pollution. Proximity to a Superfund site can lead to elevated levels of lead in children’s blood. The bill will invest $21 billion clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned oil and gas wells. These projects will remediate environmental harms, address the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities, create good-paying union jobs, and advance long overdue environmental justice This investment will benefit communities of color as, it has been found that 26% of Black Americans and 29% of Hispanic Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, a higher percentage than for Americans overall.
— Source: The White House Images: BDPA-DC/Getty Images
CINCINNATI — Continued reopenings and successful vaccination campaigns will almost certainly lead to an increase in travel and tourism. While it may take some time to fully get back to pre-pandemic levels, bus and transit companies can benefit from this travel demand and bounce back from very difficult fiscal years.
From individuals taking short regional trips to visit family members they haven’t seen in a while, to tourists enjoying weekend trips, to college students heading home for a (hopefully) more normal holiday season later this year, there’s a lot of potential for bus companies to find customers in the coming months. And because the economy may take some time to recover, more cost-conscious consumers may prefer to take buses rather than more expensive options such as trains or planes. Still, bus companies need to provide a safe, pleasant experience for passengers in order to entice them back.
What Bus Companies Must Focus on in 2021
Safely Increasing Capacity
As travel restrictions ease and customers become more comfortable being around other passengers, bus companies can start to increase the number of riders per trip. Still, safety measures like using masks and implementing enhanced cleaning practices will likely continue to be necessary for a while.
Bus companies should clearly state their health and safety practices so that customers can determine whether they’re comfortable getting on board. It would be a shame to lose customers who, for example, would take the bus if they knew there would be temperature checks and that they could open windows, but because that information isn’t publicized in advance, they choose to drive instead.
Increasing Payment & Boarding Efficiency
That starts with reducing the need to line up at bus stations to purchase tickets. Many bus companies have already rolled out easy-to-use online payment systems, but if you haven’t yet, now could be a good time to do so. From there, passengers should easily be able to receive an e-ticket or some type of confirmation that can allow for fast boarding.
The less bus companies have to review paper tickets, the faster they can typically board the bus and avoid frustrating queues; when that happens in a location with multiple buses, sometimes customers don’t even know which line to get in.
Ideally, bus companies can even go beyond scanning e-tickets, which can still create logjams and require employees to physically get close to customers at a time that many still want to maintain social distance. Verification technologies like data-over-sound can allow for faster confirmations at a greater distance than when using QR codes providing the customer with an efficient & seamless mobile boarding solution.
Improving Customer Experience
In addition to providing a better experience regarding areas like cleanliness and boarding procedures, bus companies should also think about how they can elevate customer experience to win back those who might be considering other modes of transportation.
For example, providing more in-ride media options to compete with airplanes could be a benefit customers appreciate. Some bus companies also try to appeal to more of a luxury, business-class market, such as by offering more legroom than airplanes and food/beverages (which could be more practical post-pandemic).
Another approach to elevating customer experience and appeal to new customer segments could be to implement more sustainable practices. Some municipal bus operators use alternative clean energy sources, and commercial bus companies may increasingly have opportunities to upgrade to more environmentally friendly fleets in the coming years. Meanwhile, even small measures, like highlighting the environmental impact of using paperless tickets, could help provide a strong experience for customers.
What This Means for Your Mobility Company
Implementing these types of measures can go a long way toward helping bus companies make up for the ridership drops experienced during the pandemic. Travel will likely see a strong surge, but to keep ridership up in the years to come, bus companies also need to think about how they can create these types of safe, sustainable, efficient experiences.
LISNR Co-Founder and BDPA Mission Partner Rodney Williams discusses data-over-sound technologies during a CES Smart City presentation.
In this new normal for mobility, contactless methods must operate at distances greater than what NFC or QR codes can provide. LISNR®, the most advanced ultrasonic platform, enables authentication across distances of centimeters to many meters. Plus, it’s secure, fast and easy-to-use for passengers.
LISNR®: The Most Advanced Ultrasonic Platform
Recently, BusUp, the #1 corporate bus commuter management platform in the E.U., integrated LISNR® to enable contactless mobile boarding pass authentication. As a result, the company aims to increase safety, efficiency and speed for its passengers through contactless ultrasonic technology.
Learn More About Ultrasonic Technology by Calling LISNR®
Want to see how your business can leverage data-over-sound technology to better serve customers in 2021? Get in touch with our team today. To learn more, give LISNR a call at 513-322-8400 or send them a message.
— Sources and photos: LISNR, #TeamLISNR, CTA, and bdpatoday
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Join the conversationApril 22-24, 2021: SMART Cities•Infrastructure•Cybersecurity
DETROIT, MI (BDPA Detroit) ― General Motors Company (GM), welcomes Telva McGruder as their new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. In a recent statement, the global automotive corporation looks forward to Telva’s leadership as she expands on their current Diversity team’s efforts to bring GM closer to their aspiration of being the most inclusive company in the world.
Telva recently served as GM’s Director of Workplace Engineering and Operations Solutions in the Sustainable Workplaces organization at General Motors. Named to her last position in August of 2016, Telva supported the global footprint as she leads facility engineering, technologies, energy strategy and multiple facility management strategies. Her team designs and implements sustainable technical solutions, ensuring environments for successful enterprise operations. Her team also focused on comprehensive facility management operations through key business partnerships. Global process leadership in the areas of facility maintenance, energy procurement, contract management and material handling ensure coordination across the operating regions.
Previously, Telva was Tool and Die Commodity Engineering Manager in Global Body Manufacturing Engineering. In this role, she led the engineers responsible for closure panel engineering and launch deliverables on all North American vehicle programs. Prior to that assignment, Telva was the Engineering Group Manager of Die Center Program Management, where she led the team responsible for tool and die strategy, planning, quality and launch for global vehicle programs.
Telva earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and began her career as a Test Operations Engineer for Sverdrup Technology, working at the NASA Lewis (Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland, OH. She moved on to start her career with General Motors as a manufacturing engineer in 1994 while completing her Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University. Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility and influence within manufacturing and manufacturing engineering, including manufacturing maintenance, operations and project management for major Press Center projects. Her career path has led her through Ohio, Indiana, Ontario, and she is now making contributions in Michigan.
Telva contributes to development of the talent pipeline for General Motors. She is the president of the General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN) and also serves as the GM executive liaison for the Women of Color STEM Conference and the BEYA STEM Conference, which GM proudly sponsors. With her focus on personal and professional growth, Telva is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Advocacy and Resource Development for the Oakland University School of Health Sciences. She also serves as a dedicated member of the Advisory Board for the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.
Along with her professional accomplishments, Telva is dedicated to teaching and leading others inside and outside of General Motors. She enjoys mentoring professionals as well as motivating young students to pursue STEM fields and leadership opportunities. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan and committed to building girls of courage, confidence and character. Among her volunteer activities, Telva has served as a mentor for FIRST FRC high school robotics teams and is a volunteer for A World in Motion, an SAE program.
Telva enjoys wonderful life experiences with her husband, son and two daughters. Telva is a positive, driven individual with a keen sense of what is important. She looks forward to continued opportunities to contribute in both local and professional communities.
― Source and photo credits: GM (Assemble line Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for Chevrolet)
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Register here, today! Discover more about this year’s $97 million Air Force technology transfer programs for small businesses and research institutions. Powered by BDPA during vBDPA2020, learn step-by-step approaches to capture start-up funding and defense contracts with HBCUs and start-ups.