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Source : Contractor News
January 6, 2023
Author : Patty Allen
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is in charge of building and maintaining all state and federal highways, passenger and freight rail networks, bikeways, aircraft, waterways, and port facilities. The department is responsible for maintaining, planning, developing, and constructing new transportation infrastructure to promote economic growth.
Every three years, ODOT establishes an overall annual goal for DBE participation in federally sponsored contracts. The 2019 objective was 15.37%, and DBEs received 22.44% of the federally sponsored contracting work in the fiscal year 2022, which amounted to $199 million.
“For every $100 ODOT spends on infrastructure construction, $22.4 goes to disadvantaged businesses," explains DBE Program Manager Diponker Mukherjee. “That is money going to our communities.”
A disparity study is used to aid in developing goals for the next three years. ODOT's most recent assessment prompted them to establish a target of 23.43?fective from October 1, 2022.
"We'll get there; it's moving in the right path," Mukherjee explained. "While we've made amazing strides, we can and will do better. In 2023, we have some fantastic educational and hands-on training opportunities."
Minority and women-owned firms face systematic impediments to obtaining contracts for transportation projects. While programs exist to promote equitable economic opportunity distribution, they can be further refined.
ODOT is taking steps, in collaboration with its partners, including industry associations, local and federal authorities, and advocacy organizations, to ensure that DBEs successfully do business and get equitable access to funding. The Mentor Protégé Program, the Business Development Program, technical training, bonding, and financial help are among these objectives.