Study Says Public Private Partnerships Have Higher DBE Participation

Public-private partnerships tend to include more disadvantaged business enterprises than traditional design-bid-build projects, according to a new study.

Source : Pxfuel

August 12, 2021

Author : Patty Rodriguez

Researchers at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering published a study recently by professor Qingbin Cui and doctoral student Kinqi Zhang in the journal Transportation Research Record. 

The study’s abstract notes that “Pushback for public–private partnerships (P3s) comes in part from their purported favoritism toward large firms. However, no study has empirically verified this claim.”

Using a sample of 134 contracts from the US Major Transportation Project Database and found that public-private partnerships are associated with “higher DBE goals than design–bid–build.”

The researchers suggested that this could be due to the fact that public-private partnerships tend to have “a larger contract size, more public attention, more potential subcontracting opportunities with design included in the package, and intensified agency desire for greater diversity in DBE subcontracts.”

Taking aim at the idea that public-private partnerships are not as favorable because they favor large firms, the researchers wrote that their study proves the conventional wisdom wrong. “This study provided empirical evidence that P3 offers a suitable choice with respect to setting and fulfilling DBE goals,” and offer “an excellent vehicle to dispense transportation monies to small firms and bolster the economy.”

The researchers do note however that their study has some limitations. For example, the design-bid-build projects they studied were “federally funded major projects, generally larger in value than typical projects” led by state transportation agencies.

Still, the study has some really interesting findings especially as it pertains to DBEs and large federal transportation projects. With the passing of the infrastructure bill through the Senate this week, it’s certainly something to chew on.

Category : Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Contractor Trades Department of Transportation Disparity Studies Diversity Outreach Procurement Public Works

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