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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials signed a memorandum of understanding or MOU with the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials on May 13 during AASHTO’s virtual spring meeting.

[In photo above Tara McDaniel, COMTO’s CEO and interim president is at left, while Victoria Sheehan, AASHTO’s president, is at right.]

The MOU is a step forward in a collaboration between AASHTO and COMTO to explore ways to promote the transportation and infrastructure sectors as a rewarding career choice for minorities, the two groups said.

Jim Tymon

“This MOU is another example of AASHTO’s commitment to collaborate closely with national, state, and regional organizations focused on eliminating social, economic, and racial barriers,” explained Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director, in a statement.

Last November, the AASHTO board of directors unanimously passed a resolution vowing to address issues related to race, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and this MOU puts those words into action.”

In its policy resolution, the AASHTO board pledged to “approach these efforts with humility, introspection, and respect, being mindful of the importance of listening to and learning from those most adversely affected by past decisions. We understand that these measures depend on collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including government, transportation partners, and the communities we serve.”

Victoria Sheehan

 

Victoria Sheehan – commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and AASHTO’s 2020-2021 president – said during the event that this partnership aims to help promote the advancement of minorities in transportation while also promoting the transportation and infrastructure sectors as a rewarding career choice for minorities.

“Our work touches every person’s daily life, and if we do our jobs well, we are providing access and mobility to everyone,” she said.

Tara McDaniel

Tara McDaniel, COMTO’s CEO and interim president, noted that creating partnerships with organizations like AASHTO is what will help continue expanding opportunities for minorities in the transportation industry.

“Both of our organizations are leaders in the industry and we look forward to aligning our resources for a more favorable outcome for minorities in transportation,” she said.

“It is almost like two families coming together; it’s been a long time coming,” McDaniel noted during the signing ceremony.

“There has never been a more critical time in transportation – COVID-19 was not just detrimental to the industry but disproportionately so to minorities,” she said. “We are grateful for this partnership and look forward to doing great things together in the future.”

editor@aashto.org

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