USDOT Updates DBE Decertification Process

This impacts DBE firms nationwide.

Source : Contractor News

September 9, 2022

Author : Patty Allen

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program (DBE) is a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) program aimed to help disadvantaged business groups obtain federally funded transportation and infrastructure contracts.

These opportunities can be leveraged through USDOT's various operating administrations, such as Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and Federal Transit Administration.   The program is run also through each state's DOT.

Some firms over the years have faced decertification. Importantly in recent weeks the USDOT has issued some changes to the process of decertification.

After acquiring DBE certification, a firm is expected to continue meeting all of the certification standards. If the firm in question is believed by the certifying body to no longer comply with the requirements, the agency will begin the decertification process. 

As a direct consequence of the proposed changes, the DBE regulations will be subject to several significant amendments that impact decertification.

Firms' will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Personal Net Worth or PNW Cap is a determinant for a firm to be declared socially and economically disadvantaged. They shall enjoy the status if there is no dispute with the owner's PNW. However, the status will be removed against the firm’s name if a dispute arises.  As we reported here the DBE program requires that the small business owner has a personal net worth of less than $1.32 million.
  • If 2 owners exceed the PNW cap while the other two do not, the firm still enjoys certifications.
  • If the disadvantaged ownership of a DBE firm falls below 51%, the firm may be decertified. 
  • A DBE-certified firm can also voluntarily withdraw from the DBE program. For that, it has to send a notarized letter to the concerned agency citing its intention.

Companies in danger of losing their certification have the legal right to a hearing in which they may respond to the decision to decertify them. In addition, it stipulates that the hearing must occur within forty-five days following the certifier's notification of intent to decertify, regardless of whether it is conducted in person or virtually.

According to the proposed changes, only the socially and economically disadvantaged owner may testify at a decertification hearing and reply to questions on their ownership of the firm.

Category : Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Department of Transportation

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