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Source : Contractor News
June 13, 2023
Author : Alex Bustillos
The DBE Program of Illinois Tollway is intended to reduce obstacles that prevent small, minority, and women-owned businesses from competing for construction and related professional service contracts that the organization awards. The 2023 DBE Disparity Study is an important initiative to promote fairness and equality in all aspects of Move Illinois Tollway's capital program, including contracting and consulting.
Colette Holt & Associates undertook the Disparity Study and examined how the agency awarded construction and professional services contracts, including its DBE Program. The study also assessed if DBEs have equal contractual opportunities and availability compared to non-DBEs. Finally, the report suggests ways Tollway could improve the DBE Program to benefit disadvantaged enterprises.
The Illinois Tollway arranged several specialized programs, including the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, the Business Enterprise Program, the Veterans Business Program, and the Partnering for Growth Program to increase access to opportunities for small businesses, D/M/WBEs, and underemployed people.
The organization also developed two workforce training programs, the Earned Credit Program and ConstructionWorks, and a Technical Assistance Program for small and diverse businesses.
This Disparity Study occurs in the wake of a recent court case convicted a painting subcontractor of conspiring to defraud the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Pennsylvania DOT (PennDOT).
The defendants participated in two federally funded projects involving the Girard Point Bridge and Philadelphia's Amtrak 30th Street Train Station repairs. They intended to satisfy DBE requirements by purchasing paint supplies from a certified DBE, Markias, Inc.
However, the DBE did not supply the materials for either project and merely passed through supplies from non-DBE paint suppliers to the defendants, adding a 2.25?e to the suppliers' invoice.
The defendants misrepresented their compliance with DBE regulations to PennDOT and were charged with violating the federal wire fraud statute.
This Illinois Tollway Disparity Study aims to address such discrepancies. Follow Contractor News as we report on how different states and cities undertake disparity studies and perform on meeting those goals.