Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Local news

Woodfin joins call for Biden to remove federal ban on local hire provisions

In a letter, numerous officials asked to be able to require or incentivize local hires on federally funded construction projects.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, bottom right, joined the coalition's virtual event.

A group of elected officials and organizations from across the country on Tuesday called for the repeal of a regulation they say prevents their communities from benefiting from federally funded local infrastructure projects. 

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin spoke at the virtual event, which argued that ensuring local hires can help cities and states rebuild with racial and economic equity.

“This discussion fits — it fits so much into our regional focus on training and retaining a local workforce to build the best version of ourselves, as a community and as a city, that we can be,” Woodfin said.

He joined more than 150 officials, academics and organizations who signed a letter asking President Joe Biden to overturn the prohibition. It stated:

“Since 1986, the federal regulation in 2 CFR part 200.319(c) has prevented recipients of federal grant money from including provisions that require or incentivize contractors to hire a portion of workers from communities around a given infrastructure project. At the time, the rationale for prohibiting local hire incentives was that such provisions could reduce the number of bidders on projects, resulting in an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. However, and significantly, no empirical evidence was ever cited to back up this assertion and Congress itself has never prohibited local hire.”

The stated reason for the ban was that geographical preferences would discourage businesses from bidding on projects. Under President Barack Obama, the Department of Transportation ran a pilot program from 2015 to 2017 that allowed local hire provisions in order to see if they caused the expected problems.

The Local Hire Pilot was moving forward until President Donald Trump took office and quickly eliminated it. The data that the program had collected was never analyzed.

Now, new research has shown that local hire did not harm competition or increase bid prices, according to the organization Jobs to Move America, which organized the coalition. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“The report also reveals extensive societal and economic benefits of local hire in creating jobs for local residents, especially for marginalized workers,” the group said in a statement.

Micah Danney is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

More from the Alabama Political Reporter


This project rehabilitates 15,540 square yards of the existing overflow apron pavement and 5,200 feet of taxiways.


Those investments are represented by 234 projects in all 67 counties and 400 miles of resurfaced roadways.


The bill now goes to the full Senate for its consideration.


Our state’s infrastructure, for broadband, water and sewer, is where we are looking to allocate the largest sum of ARPA Funds.


A couple of Democratic members voiced concerns about the bill Tuesday, but only three Republicans ultimately voted against it.


Money from $1 billion in federal COVID aid may just scratch the surface, organizations say.


Almost two-thirds of the money is designated toward water, sewer and broadband. The rest will go toward public health.


This funding was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.