Will San Francisco’s transit authority give preference to LGBT contractors?

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The San Francisco Bay Area Transit Authority (BART) could give preference to LGBTQ contractors in an update to the agency’s Small Business Program, launched in 2011.

“BART’s full board is likely to vote at its September 14th meeting to add LGBT contractors to the program that provides bid preferences for qualified small businesses,” it said in a statement, noting LGBTQ businesses still face barriers in the marketplace, especially in the construction industry.

If passed, it would make LGBTQ contractors eligible to receive a 5 percent bid preference on small business prime contracts.

“BART has established a track record of prioritizing local, small, disadvantaged, and women-run businesses and this change will be a natural extension of those efforts,” said BART Board President Rebecca Saltzman.  “We want to do everything we can as an agency to make contracting more inclusive.”

“We need the best, most experienced and talented firms to help us reinvest in BART’s next 40 years,” said BART Board Director Bevan Dufty. “I am proud we are now welcoming LGBT-owned businesses to be part of this vital effort.”

To qualify, contractors must be certified as a small business by California’s Department of General Services, as well as be certified by either the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce or the California Public Utilities Commission.

Outreach partners include the Golden Gate Business Association, Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley and Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. The implementation goal is set for early next year.

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