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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) hosted a workshop in Portsmouth on Aug. 18 to help small businesses compete for federal highway contracts and engage more minorities and women in construction careers. More than 145 area businesses took advantage of the opportunity to learn how to better compete for government contracts.
The workshop is being held before contracts are advertised for the $1.9 billion Martin Luther King/Midtown Tunnel project to help area business owners participate in the bidding process.
“Small businesses make up the backbone of the American economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Helping small business owners compete for road and highway contracts creates jobs and is an investment in the nation’s economic recovery.”
The MLK/Midtown Tunnel project will ease local congestion and improve Hampton Boulevard between Portsmouth and Norfolk. The project, under discussion for decades, will include an additional two-lane tunnel parallel to the existing Midtown Tunnel under the Elizabeth River. It will also feature a new one-mile, limited-access four-lane roadway to extend SR 58 south to I-264.
“By helping to level the playing field for small businesses, we improve the bidding process while keeping the cost of highway projects low and putting people back to work,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.
Since last year, FHWA has hosted similar meetings around the country to focus on opportunities for minority- and women-owned small and disadvantaged businesses. The meetings helped prepare small businesses to compete for federal projects worth more than $21 billion.