|Created on August 29, 2012|
Representing minority-owned businesses nationwide, Alejandra Castillo, is blazing a path through California’s bay area to ensure that MBDA  clients will have a fair shot at the many contracting opportunities surrounding the construction of the California high-speed rail  system. Ms. Castillo arrived in San Francisco yesterday to begin a series of meetings with the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA). The high speed rail will link Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than 2 hours and 40 minutes, traveling at speeds approaching 220 miles per hour.
The $68 billion project has the potential to create 100,000 jobs for each year that construction is underway and another 450,000 permanent new jobs statewide over the next 25 years. High-speed rail means tens of thousands of good, family-supporting jobs for California — jobs not just to build the trains and the train line, but also jobs to operate and maintain it. And there’s more — hundreds more jobs will be created for suppliers, restaurants and other businesses along the route.
Just last week, California High Speed Rail Authority CEO, Jeff Morales, signed a Small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Policy , formalizing a 30 percent small business participation goal. “MBDA is very excited about this project and its prospects of putting Americans back to work. We are collaborating with our partners to ensure that 30% of the project will be completed by minority-owned firms,” said Alejandra Castillo, National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency.
Those partners include the short list of qualified prime contractors expected to bid on portions of the project. Ms. Castillo is determined to sit down with each of the key construction consortiums to push for teaming arrangements with minority-owned firms. MBDA and its network of MBDA Business Centers have access to a robust portfolio of minority-owned firms of size and scale qualified to work on the California high-speed rail project
Yesterday Ms. Castillo met with representatives of California High-Speed Ventures, one of the five conglomerates on the “short list” of qualified bidders for the project.