The new Mississippi River Bridge is being delayed due to conflicts over whether the contracting process is too sexist but not racist enough.

The Missouri Department of Transportation will delay awarding a contract to build the new Mississippi River bridge until it determines whether minority contractors are being fully utilized in the St. Louis region, the department announced Tuesday.

The delay comes after minority contractors raised concerns this summer that the state hasn't been involving them in projects to the same level as it has women contractors. MoDOT is studying whether women and minority-owned businesses are being used to their fullest potential in transportation work. If the study shows that they are not, the state plans to ask the federal government for permission to have separate hiring goals for both groups in the $640 million bridge project.

Normally "women- and minority-owned businesses" are lumped together for preferential treatment, but minorities are complaining that sexism and racism should be separated because sexism is crowding out racism.

As a member of the group that these "goals" are specifically designed to exclude -- a white male -- I can't help but be amused. Here's an idea: hire the company that does the best work for the best value!

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