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WSDOT holding meetings about DBE program changes
Published on 03/12/2018

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is hosting public informational meetings regarding proposed changes to the state's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

A Seattle meeting is scheduled for March 26 and a Spokane meeting is scheduled for March 27. A webinar will also be held on March 30.

The central proposed change to the DBE program is regarding the credit provided to prime contractors for working with African-American-owned subcontractors on jobs with DBE goals.

WSDOT is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to give four times the normal DBE goal credit to such contractors, should they hire African-American-owned subcontractors. These changes were requested by WSDOT after the release of the 2017 WSDOT Disparity Study found that African-American-owned businesses were significantly underutilized on projects with DBE goals, even when compared to other DBEs participating in the program.

The Disparity Study found that, during the period of study, while all DBEs had a disparity ratio on their utilization on Federal Highway Administration-funded contracts of 92.5 percent (and non-DBEs had a disparity ratio of 101.6 percent), African-American-owned businesses had a disparity ratio of 22.2 percent.

The study specifically recommended, as a result, that WSDOT focus efforts on African-American-owned construction and consulting DBEs "to address their unique challenges and expand their capabilities as prime and subcontractors." WSDOT has stated that all comments made at the public meetings on the proposed rules change to the DBE program will be considered before the final version of the proposal is sent to USDOT.

For more information about WSDOTs DBE program meetings, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/news/2018/03/07/public-invited-learn-about-new-disadvantaged-business-enterprise-program-proposal

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