Mississippi River Bridge
5:22 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Metro East Black Contractors file racial discrimination suit against IDOT

The new Mississippi Bridge Project  is facing a new obstacle. The Metro East Black Contractors Organization is suing to stop the Illinois Department of Transportation from handing out more contracts on the $760 million project until discrimination issues are addressed.

The organization says they aren't getting their fair share of work on the project. The group's attorney Eric Vickers says in addition to an injunction on awarding more contracts, the new lawsuit calls for IDOT to pay $650 million in damages.

"That is not a figure that was taken out of the air," Vickers said. "Over the next five years IDOT plans to spend $13 billion. That $650 [million] is five percent of that amount. That is what it is going to take to level the playing field."

In a statement,  IDOT said it hasn't seen the lawsuit yet, but did emphasize the department's overall workforce for the project includes minorities at well above the federally mandated 15 percent minimum.