CARSON CITY — At least 6.98 percent of construction funds spent by the Department of Transportation in the 2014-16 period should go to minority and women-owned businesses, a state board decided Monday.
But during the meeting of the state Transportation Board, Las Vegas contractor Richard Copeland, who is African-American, complained that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the $500 million or more spent each year by the Transportation Department goes to minorities. Copeland added the percentage goals set by the board are never reached.
He said the 6.98 percent is a good goal for the agency, but it needs to reach out more to minority and women contractors and workers.
Transportation Department Director Rudy Malfabon said he intends to hold more training programs for prospective contractors on the importance of hiring female and minority workers.
Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, D-Las Vegas, added it will take the “leadership” of Malfabon and the board to make people aware of the importance of reaching the goal.
Gov. Brian Sandoval, chairman of the Transportation Board, repeatedly sought assurances from a consultant that the 6.98 percent goal would not leave Nevada vulnerable to lawsuits from minorities or women. He was told it would not.