The Arizona Department of Transportation operates the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program to assist disadvantaged business enterprises on contracts that use U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) funds. Every three years, ADOT must set an overall annual goal for participation of DBEs in those contracts. The goal is expressed as the percentage of contract dollars that will go to firms certified as DBEs.
Through federal Fiscal Year 2014, ADOT has had an overall DBE goal of 7.76 percent for contracts using Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds. During the most recent reporting periods, ADOT has met this goal or has been close to meeting it.
Federal regulations in 49 CFR Part 26 and other USDOT guidance direct how an agency sets its overall DBE goal. ADOT selected Keen Independent Research (Keen Independent) to conduct Availability and Disparity studies. The information in the recently completed Availability Study indicated a preliminary overall annual goal of 9.38 percent for the next three federal fiscal years beginning Oct. 1, 2014. ADOT submitted this 9.38 percent preliminary overall DBE goal to FHWA on Sept. 30, 2014. This preliminary DBE goal was approved by FHWA in March 2015 pending resubmission at the conclusion of the full Disparity Study.
2015 Disparity Study
The Disparity Study analyzes
the utilization and availability of minority- and women-owned firms, by race,
ethnic and gender group, to determine whether there are disparities in the past
utilization of those firms in ADOT contracts. Keen Independent conducted
disparity analyses for FHWA-, state-, FAA- and FTA-funded contracts. The
Disparity Study also includes analysis of in-depth interviews with business
owners, trade associations and others. Keen Independent has included
information in the Disparity Study for ADOT to use as it develops overall DBE
goals for FAA- and FTA-funded contracts and a refined goal for its FHWA-funded
contracts. ADOT will also be making decisions related to continued use of DBE
contract goals for its FHWA-funded contracts or whether it can achieve the
proposed overall goals for DBE participation in FHWA-, FAA- or FTA-funded
contracts solely through neutral means.
ADOT will hold public hearings
in July on the Draft Disparity Study and Final Proposed Goal, and after
reviewing the public comments, will submit its proposed overall DBE goal to FTA
and a revised overall DBE goal to FHWA.