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Source : ContractorNews.com
January 5, 2021
Author : Kristy Casanova
Alaska’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has begun focusing on increasing disadvantaged, minority and women-owned business participation in its public works contracts. The state DOT’s goal for 2021 through 2023 is to increase the percentage of contracts awarded to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) to 9.97 percent.
In order to undertake data-driven policy, Alaska’s DOT contracted MGT Consulting to carry out a disparity study of its public works contracts. The study looked at a five-year period from 2014 to 2019.
The study revealed that minority and women-owned businesses did not have equal access to contract work. As reported in the Fairbanks city Daily News - Miner the MGT Consulting Group surveyed and interviewed about 565 business representatives and owners of firms who have conducted business with Alaska’s DOT.
During the study, many of the businesses expressed their main concern which is being able to compete with larger firms. In fact the study revelaed that for larger projects, smaller firms are regularly not considered for taking part in the project. In addition, about 60 percent of business owners and representatives reported they were either never or seldomly invited to bid on projects when the contracts had no set goal to use disadvantaged businesses.
The U.S. federal DOT requires that state and local agencies receiving federal funding (such as Alaska’s state DOT) implement a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. As the Miner explained “The DBE program is designed to address potential discrimination against DBEs in who works on federally funded contracts through such administrations as the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Transit Administration”.
Visit the Alaska DOT website here: http://www.dot.state.ak.us