ADOT to conduct disparity study for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises

Study to ensure women- and minority-owned businesses have equal access to highway projects

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation will conduct a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Availability and Disparity Study designed to determine whether minority- and women-owned business enterprises have had equal access to federally assisted transportation contracting opportunities within the state.

The study, which is required by U.S. Department of Transportation, is designed to determine whether there is an inequity between the utilization of women- and minority-owned businesses and the demographics of the general business community. The study will also examine if Disadvantaged Business Enterprise businesses are awarded a proper percentage of contracts based on their availability to perform transportation-related work.

The study will further examine ADOT’s contracting practices and policies to determine how well they promote equal opportunities in awarding contracts. The results of this study will help ADOT set annual Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goals for federally funded projects, as well as reinforce efforts to help Disadvantaged Business Enterprise businesses fairly compete for transportation contracts.

ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program has had success in reaching out to the minority-owned business community to educate them on how they can manage their small businesses and better compete for transportation contracts through training workshops, conferences and educational material made available online.

Business owners, trade associations and community groups throughout the state will have the opportunity to participate in the study and provide comments about their experiences related to transportation work or assisting women- and minority-owned businesses. Throughout the spring, the study team will be contacting businesses by phone to collect information about their availability for different types of ADOT contracts. 

This is the second disparity study conducted by ADOT. The first study was completed in 2009 as a result of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case and U.S. Department of Transportation guidance that disparity studies must be completed before Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goals on transportation contracts can be set.