Special to Bilingual Weekly
Lisa Marie Burcar
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Today, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) hosted a
Meet-the-Primes business networking event at California State University/Bakersfield, where more than 500 small disadvantaged businesses and potential subcontractors met with several representatives from five pre-qualified design-build contractors who will bid on the initial construction section of the project.
“The Governor declared May to be California Small Business month and we couldn’t think of a better way to support his commitment to the state’s Small Businesses,” said Board Vice-Chair Tom Richards who spoke at the event. “Under the Governor’s leadership and through our Board’s commitment to a 30% goal for small disadvantaged business participation, we are ensuring the statewide high-speed train project will help small businesses thrive and prosper.”
Through the Authority’s recently finalized Small Disadvantaged Business (SB) Program, the Authority has established an aggressive 30% participation goal for contracts let by the Authority. Competing teams are expected to exercise good faith efforts to obtain SB commitments equal to or exceeding that 30% goal and execute an SB Performance Plan that includes comprehensive outreach to small businesses, SB engagement and the team’s track record working with small disadvantaged businesses.
The CHSRA Meet-the-Primes event was designed to provide an Authority-sponsored opportunity for small disadvantaged businesses to meet with pre-qualified design-build contractors who will be competing for high-speed rail design-build contracts. After an introduction by Authority staff and Vice-Chair Richards, a presentation was given highlighting the initial construction packages and Request for Proposals (RFP) procurement process. Information was then presented by the Authority’s Small and Disadvantaged Business team explaining opportunities available through the SB program.
Following the presentations, small businesses, micro businesses and businesses owned by minorities, women and disabled veterans from throughout California had an opportunity to network with representatives from the five short-listed teams.
Additionally, representatives from many state and federal agencies were available to provide information on services and certifications offered to small businesses.
“Small Businesses will be the backbone of this project,” said Thomas Fellenz, Acting CEO for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. “We can’t build this project without the creativity and diversity of California’s Small Businesses. This Meet-the-Primes event provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to show the five pre-qualified design-build contractors what they do and why they are important to the success of the project.”
The first construction segment of the high-speed rail project will extend approximately 29 miles from Avenue 17 near the city of Madera to south of the city of Fresno. It will be the first section of 130 miles of high-speed rail in the Central Valley which will create an estimated 100,000 job-years over the next five years.
Earlier this year, the Authority completed a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process that resulted in five design-build teams being identified as qualified to bid for Authority work. The Authority’s RFP process will be conducted in two steps, with three Design-Build teams selected following a technical evaluation. The top three teams will then undergo a combined technical and price evaluation. Contracts are set to be finalized later this year.
The U.S. Census Bureau today released a set of estimates showing that 50.4 percent of our nation’s population younger than age 1 were minorities as of July 1, 2011. This is up from 49.5 percent from the 2010 Census taken April 1, 2010. A minority is anyone who is not single-race white and not Hispanic.
The population younger than age 5 was 49.7 percent minority in 2011, up from 49.0 percent in 2010. A population greater than 50 percent minority is considered “majority-minority.”
These are the first set of population estimates by race, Hispanic origin, age and sex since the 2010 Census. They examine population change for these groups nationally, as well as within all states and counties, between Census Day (April 1, 2010) and July 1, 2011. Also released were population estimates for Puerto Rico and its municipios by age and sex.
There were 114 million minorities in 2011, or 36.6 percent of the U.S. population. In 2010, it stood at 36.1 percent.
There were five majority-minority states or equivalents in 2011: Hawaii (77.1 percent minority), the District of Columbia (64.7 percent), California (60.3 percent), New Mexico (59.8 percent) and Texas (55.2 percent). No other state had a minority population greater than 46.4 percent of the total.
More than 11 percent (348) of the nation’s 3,143 counties were majority-minority as of July 1, 2011, with nine of these counties achieving this status since April 1, 2010. Maverick, Texas, had the largest share (96.8 percent) of its population in minority groups, followed by Webb, Texas (96.4 percent) and Wade Hampton Census Area, Alaska (96.2 percent).
There was a small uptick in the nation’s median age, from 37.2 years in 2010 to 37.3 in 2011. The 65-and-older population increased from 40.3 million to 41.4 million over the period and included 5.7 million people 85 and older. Likewise, working-age adults (age 18 to 64) saw their numbers rise by about 2 million to 196.3 million in 2011. In contrast, the number of children under 18, 74.0 million in 2011, declined by about 200,000 over the period, largely because of the decline in high school-age children 14 to 17.
Maine had a higher median age than any other state (43.2), with Utah having the lowest median age (29.5). Florida had the highest percentage of its population 65 and older (17.6 percent), followed by Maine (16.3 percent). Utah had the highest percentage of its total population younger than 5 (9.3 percent).
Among counties, Sumter, Fla., was the nation’s “oldest,” with 45.5 percent of its population 65 and older, and Geary, Kan., was the nation’s “youngest” (11.4 percent younger than 5).
Highlights for each race group and Hispanics at the national, state and county levels:
Information provided by the US Census