Northam kicks off networking event for HRBT project


Photo Credit: FrankRamspott

Gov. Ralph Northam today welcomed small business owners at a networking event hosted by Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP), the prime contractor for the Hampton Roads-Bridge Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion project.

The $3.8 billion project was announced in April and is the largest transportation project in Virginia’s history. The purpose of the event was to increase access for small businesses by connecting 600 contractors with the project’s primary decision makers. Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned (SWaM) subcontractors will have an opportunity to bid on as much as $1 billion of contract work.

“Ensuring that Virginia’s minority business community has the opportunity to grow and succeed in our Commonwealth is key to creating a healthy economy and is an important part of our efforts to make Virginia more equitable and inclusive,” said Governor Northam. “The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion will have a tremendous economic impact in the region, and we want to ensure that our small businesses get a share of that. I am thrilled that this event is tapping into our DBE and SWaM companies to build the pipeline of diverse teams that will be critical to the successful completion of this project.”

In an effort to create a more transparent, equitable, and inclusive state contracting process, Governor Northam signed Executive Order Thirty-Five in July, directing state agencies to place a deliberate focus on the participation of DBE and SWaM businesses in the Commonwealth’s contracts. The Executive Order set a goal of 42 percent of discretionary spending for executive branch agencies with small businesses certified by the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (DSBSD), which would be the highest percentage of expenditures since fiscal year 2004.

“The HRBT Expansion project is expected to generate 28,000 new jobs over the life of the project,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This networking event is an example of our commitment to ensure DBE and SWaM contractors have a place at the table.”

The 725,000 small businesses that call Virginia home employ 1.5 million Virginians and represent an important economic engine, making up 97 percent of all businesses in the Commonwealth.

Between now and 2025, this project is expected to generate a total economic impact of $4.6 billion in Hampton Roads—and $5.3 billion across Virginia—supporting commerce, tourism, shipbuilding, the military,  and the Port of Virginia.

“VDOT’s Civil Rights Division works hard to ensure that small businesses have an equal opportunity to participate in the performance of contracts on projects such as the HRBT Expansion and other projects across the Commonwealth,” said Sandra D. Norman, Virginia Department of Transportation Civil Rights Division Administrator.

This project will add two new two-lane tunnels. It will widen the four-lane sections of Interstate 64 in Hampton between Settlers Landing Road and the Phoebus shoreline, as well as the four-lane section of I-64 in Norfolk between the Willoughby shoreline and the I-564 interchange. More than 100,000 vehicles currently use this facility during peak travel periods. The project is expected to be completed by November 1, 2025.

“Today’s DBE and SWaM Opportunity Event at the Hampton Roads Convention Center is an excellent opportunity for small businesses that want to be involved in the HRBT Expansion Project to meet members of the project’s design-build team,” said Jose Ignacio Martin Alos, Project Executive for Hampton Roads Connector Partners. “We look at every design-build phase need—from services such as surveying and geotechnical analysis to construction materials such as ready mix concrete and rebar—as a DBE and SWaM opportunity.”

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