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The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program is a federal program operating under the guidance of the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). Authorization for the program comes from 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 26; "Participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in U.S. Department of transportation (DOT) Financial Assistance Programs." As recipient of federal transportation funds, Access Services has established a DBE Program for its DOT-assisted projects.
The DBE Program creates a level playing field on which disadvantaged businesses can compete fairly. The Program ensures that qualified businesses have an equal opportunity to compete for, and participate in, the performance of all DOT-funded contracts and subcontracts. It also assures that all contracts and procurements will be administered without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin.
Pursuant to Race-Neutral DBE policy directives issued by the U.S. DOT in response to a recent Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision (Western States Paving Co. v. Washington State Department of Transportation), Access has implemented a wholly Race-Neutral DBE Program. Under a Race-Neutral DBE Program, Access may no longer advertise DOT-assisted contracts containing numeric race-conscious goals or require a Proposer to utilize DBEs as a condition of award. Race-neutral DBE participation includes any time a DBE obtains a prime contract through customary competitive procurement procedures or is awarded a subcontract on a prime contract that does not carry a DBE goal.
Access continues to strongly encourage the participation of DBE firms in its DOT-assisted contracts.
The Access DBE Policy is available at: DBE Policy
Does Your Business Qualify As A DBE?
In order to meet the eligibility standards of the DBE Program, your business must be:
- The firm must be at least 51% owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
- The firm must be an independent business, and one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged owners must control its management and daily operations.
- Only existing for-profit “Small Business Concerns,” as defined by the Small Business Act and Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations may be certified. DBE applicants are first subject to the applicable small business size standards of the SBA. Second, the average annual gross receipts for the firm (including its affiliates) over the previous three fiscal years must not exceed U.S. DOT’s cap of $22.41 million.
- The Personal Net Worth (PNW) of each socially and economically disadvantaged owner must not exceed $1.32 million excluding the individual’s ownership interest in the applicant firm and the equity in his/her primary residence.
What is a "Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individual" under the DBE program?
The assumption is that an individual is both socially and economically disadvantaged if s/he is a citizen, or lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States, AND is:
- Black American
- Hispanic American
- Native American
- Asian-Pacific American
- Subcontinent Asian American
- A member of any additional group that is designated as socially and economically disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration
Additionally, an individual can demonstrate that s/he is socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.
How can I get certified as a DBE?
The California Unified Certification Program (CUCP) has established two Regional DBE Certification Clusters throughout the State to effectively facilitate statewide DBE certification activities. Please forward your completed certification packet to one of the agencies serving the county where your firm has its principal place of business (refer to list of Certifying Agencies). You can access the CUCP application by visiting https://metro.gob2g.com/Default.asp, or by clicking below:
Applicants will be required to provide the following documents together with the completed application. (NOTE: May not be all inclusive):
- Profile of business/vendor (organization description)
- Proof of vendor's ethnicity/gender (i.e. birth certificate
- List of vendor's business clients
- Three years of recent tax returns (business and/or personal taxes)
- Vendor's "Articles of Incorporation" (if applicable)
- Applicant's "corporate meeting" list, if applicable (an agenda for your first corporate meeting)
- Stock transfer letter, including a list the first stock(s) issued
Following submission and processing of the vendor's application package, a DBE representative will schedule a site visit. Your DBE Certification will be determined following this site visit.
Where Can I Get DBE Certified?
Please click on the website link below for a roster of DBE certifying agencies. Please forward your completed certification packet to one of the agencies serving the county where your firm has its principal place of business (note this information is subject to change): https://caltrans.dbesystem.com