config

Harris urges railroad companies to work with minority-owned businesses

harris 040519SPRINGFIELD – To encourage diversity in the transportation industry, State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) is sponsoring legislation that urges the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) to submit procurement goals for female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and small business enterprises.

“No industry is excluded from diversification,” Harris said. “These contracts can give a big boost to small and minority-owned businesses. When we ask railroad companies to set goals for diversity and inclusion, we are pushing them to help make that progress happen.”

Currently, the Railroad Supplier Diversity Act allows each Class I railroad company to submit an annual report containing procurement goals and actual spending for female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and small business enterprises to the Illinois Commerce commission.

Senate Bill 2304 would add the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) to the requirements for Class I railroads under the Railroad Supplier Diversity Act.

There are currently seven Class I railroads: BNSF Railway, CN, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific. Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway are also considered Class I due to their significant trackage in the United States.

The report requirements include information on outreach and expansion plans, points-of-contact for interested vendors, and suggestions for how the Commission could ease the vendor identification process. The reports would be required to include as much state-specific data as possible, but some national data could be used to supplement findings.

Senate Bill 2304 passed the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday and now heads to the Senate floor for further debate.

Sen. Napoleon B. Harris III

harris 150

Majority Caucus Whip
15th Legislative District

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Executive; Human Services; Insurance (Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology (Vice-Chairperson); Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Pension Investments Special Com. On..

Biography: Entrepreneur and legislator; from Dixmoor; B.A. in Communications, Northwestern University; Postgraduate certificate, Northwestern Kellogg School of Business Management; former NFL linebacker; married (wife, Nicole); three children (sons, Napoleon Harris IV, Noah & daughter, Nahla).

Associated Representatives:
William Davis
Thaddeus Jones