Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

What is the DBE program?

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program provides a vehicle for increasing the participation by MBEs in state and local procurement. DOT DBE regulations require state and local transportation agencies that receive DOT financial assistance, to establish goals for the participation of DBEs. Each DOT-assisted State and local transportation agency is required to establish annual DBE goals, and review the scopes of anticipated large prime contracts throughout the year and establish contract-specific DBE subcontracting goals. Three major DOT operating administrations are involved in the DBE program. They are the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

The main objectives of the DBE Program are:

•   To ensure that small disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) can compete fairly for federally funded transportation-related projects.

•   To ensure that only eligible firms participate as DBEs.

•   To assist DBE firms in competing outside the DBE Program.

There has been, since 1983, a statutory provision requiring DOT to ensure that at least 10% of the funds authorized for the highway and transit financial assistance programs be expended with DBEs. DOT has established a single DBE goal, encompassing both firms owned by women and minority group members.

To be certified as a DBE, a firm must be a small business owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Certifiers make the determinations based upon on-site visits, personal interviews, reviews of licenses, stock ownership, equipment, bonding capacity, work completed, resume of principal owners and financial capacity.

Who must comply?

The DOT DBE program is implemented by recipients of DOT Federal Financial Assistance. Recipients are primarily state highway, transit, and airport agencies that receive funds subject to Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations parts 26 (49 CFR 26). A similar program for airport concessions (ACDBE) program mandated by 49 U.S.C. 47107(e), originally enacted in 1987 and amended in 1992, is implemented under (49 CFR 23)Even if the funds only accounted for $1 of the project cost, recipients must apply Federal DBE requirements to the entire project.

Are you in compliance?

We can help.  Padilla & Associates Inc. has the expertise to prepare the required program plans to comply with SBE and DBE regulations.  Contact us for more information.