Richmond, Va. — A federal appeals court on Thursday struck down part of a North Carolina law designed to ensure minority contractors get a fair share of state highway construction projects.
The state Department of Transportation has for years encouraged contractors to make a good faith effort to employ subcontractors owned by women or minorities, and in 2002, the agency rejected a bid on an Iredell County project by determining that the contractor hadn't made enough of an attempt to find minority-owned subcontractors on the project.
The contractor, H.B. Rowe Co. Inc., sued, claiming the DOT's goals for participation by female and minority subcontractors was unconstitutional.
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state had enough evidence of discrimination against black- and Native American-owned subcontractors to support the goals, but there wasn't enough evidence for the DOT to use participation goals for subcontractors owned by women, Hispanics or Asians.