NAACP Econ Addresses Discrimination Against DBE’s in Washington State

Earlier this month, Senior Director of Economic Department, Dedrick Muhammad and NAACP Alaska Oregon and Washington Area State Conference (AOWASC) leadership held a press conference in Seattle, Washington to respond to findings that the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) failed to address racial discriminatory practices or meet federal diversity and inclusion standards particularly in regards to the federally funded Alaska viaduct construction project with Seattle Tunnel Partners.

According to the report, Seattle Tunnel Partners accepted a $1.4 billion construction project from WSDOT and agreed to allocate $91 million to small “diverse business enterprises”.  The report found Seattle Tunnel Partners intentionally created unnecessary barriers for women and minority owned business and to date less than 1% of funds have been allocated to diverse businesses though 33% of the project has been completed.

"This [report] is a solid piece of evidence that [racial discrimination against minority businesses] is happening in Washington State and the concern is this is what's happening across the country," said Dedrick Asante-Muhammad.

Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson said a special investigator is helping WSDOT decide what to do with Seattle Tunnel Partners.

The NAACP recommends WSDOT end working with Seattle Turner Partners immediately.

“The Washington State Department of Transportation as well as the leadership of this state needs to terminate the contract with STP because their history has been egregious, it’s been documented … At what point is enough enough?” said Gerald Hankerson, president of NAACP's Alaska Washington Oregon State Area Conference.

The NAACP Economic Department is equipping AOWASC with technical assistance to support their efforts on the case and to see that economic justice is served.

Click here to watch video from the press conference or for more information.