Administration Ends Pilot Program on Local Hiring for Public Works

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The Trump administration is abandoning another Obama-era regulatory initiative, killing a plan to allow cities to set aside work for local residents on federally funded public works projects.

The provision, proposed in 2015, has been winding its way through the approvals process since then but never took effect.

No reason was given for the Transportation Department’s withdrawal of the plan, set to take effect on Friday.

The fate of a related pilot program, which gave case-by-case approval for local hiring provisions on selected transportation and construction projects, is now in doubt. The experiment began soon after the rule was proposed and was intended to test the economic effects of preferential employment for projects backed by the federal highway and transit administrations.

Researchers hoped to learn whether local-hiring targets could be achieved without reducing competition or raising prices and putting qualified workers from outside the area at an undue disadvantage.

The program was tested in states like New York, California, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania and involved viaduct construction, pavement rehabilitation and highway development projects. The study was extended for five years in January, just before President Trump took office.

A Transportation Department spokesman told The New York Times this month that “the prior administration’s proposed rule and proposed long-term extensions of pilot programs is under review.”

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