SACRAMENTO–The California High Speed Rail (HSR) Authority has significantly enhanced its Small Business Program, modeled after legislation authored by Sen. Curren D. Price Jr. (D-Los Angeles), by approving a 10 percent contract participation goal for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs). The proposal was unanimously approved by the HSR Board on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012.

“Adding the 10 percent DBE goal to the program will greatly boost the competitiveness of historically disadvantaged small businesses, including minority and women-owned firms,” said Sen. Price, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Procurement and a strong advocate for California small businesses.

“This is a momentous action in favor of these small businesses, a move that will level the contracting field, bring thousands of jobs and open up opportunities for a wider range of small businesses.”

Last January, Sen. Price brought together at the State Capitol small business owners from throughout California to weigh in on impediments to their successful and robust participation in the California High Speed Rail project.

Throughout the past year, Sen. Price has led the effort to ensure that the California High Speed Rail Authority sets standards for small business involvement in contracting during all phases of this massive public works project by holding Town Hall meetings, authoring legislation and sponsoring informational hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Procurement.

“Small businesses really remain the economic engine of our state,” explained the senator. “But we must ensure opportunities for these businesses as well as communities in California that need inclusion the most. It is critical that the High Speed Rail Authority make the right decisions to ensure fair representation for disadvantaged businesses on this major project,” he said. “By its unanimous vote in favor of the DBE goal, the authority has proven its commitment to this important issue.”