U.S. DOT Exploits Loophole to Attempt to Push Local Hire

The recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) allows states or localities to implement a local hiring preference on federal-aid highway and transit projects. Such was already the case prior to passage of IIJA through a U.S. DOT pilot program. However, as part of that pilot program, the grant recipient was forced to certify that there was:

  1. A readily available pool of unemployed individuals that possessed the knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the work;
  2. The grant recipient would not displace any of its existing employees to satisfy this local hire preference; and
  3. Any increase in the cost of labor, training, or delays resulting from the local hire preference does not delay the project.

However, U.S. DOT is now claiming it does not have to abide by these requirements under long-standing law, claiming a loophole in the IIJA provision noted above. Rest assured, this direction by U.S. DOT will not supersede any state laws on local hiring preferences.

AGC opposes local hire requirements—and in turn this attempt by U.S. DOT to skirt existing law—because, among other reasons, they do not help treat the symptoms of local workforce shortages by doing such things as ensuring that the elected officials demanding them invest more, or even adequately, in career and technical education in their communities.

 For more information, contact Alex Etchen at

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