Department of Transportation Modifies ACDBE & DBE Programs

The modifications are intended to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Source : Contractor News

August 2, 2022

Author : Patty Allen

Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) are two programs of the Department of Transportation. These two programs were modified recently for certifiers to meet eligibility criteria quickly. 

Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) this week welcomed the US Department of Transportation's (DOT) issuance of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 49 CFR Part 23, Participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise in Airport Concessions ("Part 23") and 49 CFR Part 26, Participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in Department of Transportation Financial Assistance Programs ("Part 26").

The modifications are intended to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the transportation industry and are in response to a June 2021 request by the ACI-NA for the DOT to begin a Part 23 rulemaking to address various unsolved regulatory concerns and update the ACDBE program.

ACDBE and DBE businesses must be at least 51 percent owned by economically disadvantaged individuals. These two organizations issue certificates to minority- and women-owned businesses that meet USDOT's eligibility requirements. To obtain all benefits, one must apply to the agency. Once a business has been certified by one of the participating agencies, it will be recognized by all agencies.

"ACI-NA and its members have long advocated for equity, diversity, and inclusion through the various programs and activities in which airport operators are involved," said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin Burke. "This includes promoting successful Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) programs. We are pleased that DOT issued the NPRM on Part 23 as ACI-NA requested, and look forward to working with our members to submit comments on both programs."

This proposed rulemaking would strengthen the DOT's execution of the DBE and ACDBE Program regulations. The NPRM would update personal net worth and program size threshold, modernize rules for counting material suppliers; incorporate procedural flexibilities enacted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; add new program elements to encourage greater use of DBEs and ACDBEs with concurrent, proactive monitoring and oversight; update certification provisions with less prescriptive rules that give certifiers flexibility when determining eligibility; and technical corrections that have led to substantive misinterpretations of the rules by recipients, program applicants, and participants.

A final regulation impacted the Department of Transportation's DBE program for disadvantaged businesses, released on December 14, 2020. Following the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the rule establishes a legislative modification to the size standard. It adjusts the size limit for small businesses participating in the DBE program under 49 CFR Part 26 for inflation. The rule became effective on January 13, 2021.

The changes are made in stages and focused on various aspects, benefiting small business owners and their financial growth.

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Category : Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Diversity Outreach Airports

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