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CATS hosts a kickoff meeting for the USDOT Bonding Education Program at its headquarters building in Uptown Charlotte. The program was sponsored by CATS, the USDOT South Atlantic Small Business Transportation Resource Center, the Surety and Fidelity Association of America, and Johnson Brothers – the prime contractor on Phase II of the CityLYNX Gold Line project.

CATS awarded a $95 million construction contract to Texas-based Johnson Brothers Inc. to build the line and make other infrastructure improvements along the route. Johnson Brothers successfully met CATS DBE project goal of 11.8 percent by utilizing several DBE firms—some of them from the Charlotte area. Johnson Brothers made commitments to DBE firms totaling in excess of $11 million to perform scopes of work including traffic control, dump truck hauling, railroad construction, paving and material supplies. “We were able to meet and even exceed the DBE goal during our pre-construction outreach process, so we are in good shape as far as our DBE participation goes,” Johnson Brothers project manager Bill Tipton said. In addition to the DBE firms selected to work on the project, Johnson Brothers also hosted a job fair in Uptown Charlotte to recruit employees to fill over 100 positions needed to work on the job. Johnson Brothers held the job fair during the annual CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) Basketball Tournament. The CIAA is one of Charlotte’s largest annual events, which attracts thousands of supporters from the historically black colleges and universities that comprise the CIAA conference. “We were trying to do outreach into the community,” Tipton said. “We need employees to do this work and people need jobs.” The job fair was a successful

event, with over 70 people pre-registered to attend. “We had a variety of people, some folks were new to construction, some folks were transient in construction, and some folks were just seeing what we had to offer,” Tipton said. Johnson Brothers started the first portion of work on the project by completing the demolition and removal of a pedestrian bridge near the campus of Johnson C. Smith University, and is now proceeding with the improvement of storm drains along the project corridor. Once the grading is prepared, Bullock Construction will begin track installation work as a DBE subcontractor. Bullock Construction is a small woman-owned railroad contractor headquartered in Maryland, but is also certified in North Carolina and has completed several projects for the N.C. Department of Transportation and CATS. Bullock Construction has been in business since 1967, serving the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast area. Michelle Bullock took over as company president in 1997 and certified the company as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise in 2000. “We are looking forward to working on the project,” Bullock said. “All of our contact with Johnson Brothers has been good so far and we look forward to getting in there and getting started.” Bullock plans to send in a core crew initially and then hire local workers through an employment agency to complete the contract. “This will be one of our bigger jobs,” she said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joins with other Charlotte leaders at the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase II of the CityLYNX Gold Line Streetcar Project. (Source: Charlotte Area Transit System)

CATS and Johnson Brothers also hosted a six-week Bonding Education Program (BEP) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Surety and Fidelity Association of America in conjunction with Phase II of the Gold Line project. During the course, participants interacted with bond producers like Catalyst Surety Partners, Johnson Brothers staff and City of Charlotte officials. They also learned how to conduct business with various local, state and federal agencies. CATS Civil Rights Officer Arlanda Rouse said, “The goal of the BEP is to educate small businesses about best business practices, industry challenges, and to assist the participants in their efforts to obtain surety bonding or increase their bonding capacity.” Phase II of the CityLYNX Gold Line will open to the public in 2020 and is expected to continue the economic revitalization of inner-city Charlotte. Although Phase III of the Gold Line has yet to be planned, CATS anticipates that when the final phase is completed, the project will generate more than 1.1 million square feet in new development, increase incremental property tax revenues by over $4 million per year by the year 2035, and provide greater access to over 2,000 small businesses located within a quarter-mile of the line.

// Spring 2017

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American DBE Magazine - Spring 2017  

American DBE Magazine is a quarterly digital and print publication dedicated to increasing business diversity and inclusion in the transport...

American DBE Magazine - Spring 2017  

American DBE Magazine is a quarterly digital and print publication dedicated to increasing business diversity and inclusion in the transport...