Arizona DOT Seeking Public Input on DBE Goals

Virtual public meetings are being held.

Source : Unsplash

November 27, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

To promote equal access and non-discriminatory practices for federal funded projects, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has made it mandatory for all state DOTs to implement the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. 

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has to establish a three-year goal for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation in contracts supported by USDOT. 

ADOT has established a DBE program in compliance with 49 CFR Part 26 of the USDOT requirements. As a requirement for receiving funding, ADOT's policy is to ensure that DBEs, as defined in Part 26, have an equal chance to receive and compete for USDOT-assisted contracts.

The department has set up the following objectives for it's DBE program:

  • To ensure that no disadvantaged business is discriminated against in their awarding and participation in the USDOT-assisted contracts.
  • To create grounds on which DBEs can compete fairly for government contracts.
  • To make the DBE program per the law.
  • To remove hurdles on the path of DBE programs in participating in USDOT-assisted programs.
  • To ensure that businesses meeting 49 CFR Part 26 eligibility standards are considered DBEs.
  • To aid disadvantaged businesses in their development to increase their competitive potential.

ADOT can receive funding under three USDOT programs its tailored goals around.

For fiscal years 2024-2026, the ADOT proposes an updated DBE objective of 12.55 percent for contracts supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The previous goal was 12.89 percent. 

Based on the relative availability of DBEs for these contracts and other factors, ADOT projects that it will only be able to achieve this goal partially through race- and gender-neutral means. It will be necessary to continue using DBE contract goals to achieve a portion of this objective. 

ADOT intends to reach the overall DBE objective of 12.55 percent by achieving 7.65 percent through the race- and gender-conscious means and 4.90 percent through the race- and gender-neutral means. 

ADOT proposes a revised DBE objective for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-funded contracts for fiscal years 2025 through 2027 of 9.72 percent, down from its current goal of 10.69 percent. It proposes a revised DBE goal for Federal Transit Administration (FTA)-funded contracts of 9.85 percent for fiscal years 2025 through 2027. On October 1, 2024, a new overall DBE target must go into force.

On October 1, 2023, a new overall DBE target must go into force for all three programs.

ADOT is seeking public feedback on its proposed overall DBE goals and the recently completed draft 2022 Availability Study Report, which details these objectives. Keen Independent Research prepared the 2022 Availability Study. The same company undertook the 2020 Disparity Study for the state DOT. 

The public is encouraged to comment on the size of the proposed overall DBE goals, the methodology used to develop the goals, the results of the 2022 Availability Study, and suggestions for improving contracting opportunities for DBEs and other small businesses.

The public feedback period begins on November 15 and ends on December 30, 2022. In conjunction with the feedback period, ADOT will offer virtual public meetings.

Category : Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Department of Transportation Disparity Studies Diversity Outreach State Government

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