Dear DBE Program Stakeholder:
On March 28, 2014, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) submitted a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program waiver to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) as a result of a required Disparity Study completed in 2012. This 2012 DBE Program Disparity Study analyzed contracts from Federal Fiscal Years 2009 through 2011 and determined that non-minority women-owned DBEs were no longer facing disparate treatment or discrimination. Accordingly, WSDOT submitted a waiver request to remove non-minority women-owned DBEs from the race-conscious portion of the DBE Program.
On December 8, 2016, USDOT approved the DBE Program waiver. In order to successfully implement the waiver, WSDOT waited for the implementation of B2GNow, a diversity software system, which will allow the agency to properly track and report the new designation of Underutilized DBEs (UDBE). This system will be implemented on contracts advertised after June 1st and is available at: https://wsdot.diversitycompliance.com. Accordingly, the DBE Program waiver will also be effective on federal-aid contracts advertised after June 1st.
On a separate note, WSDOT is nearing completion of a new DBE Program Disparity Study based on more recent data and will evaluate any potential appropriate actions when this new study is completed. WSDOT expects to be provided with a draft study for internal review within a few weeks.
WSDOT is meeting our current overall DBE goal and will adjust our project goals related to enforceable (race-conscious) goals and voluntary (race-neutral) measures to maintain appropriate utilization. We continue to be committed to increasing inclusion and participation for minority and women-owned businesses in Washington state. Programs like our Mentor Protégé initiative have drawn significant interest from the contracting community and we are excited about its potential.
We will keep you apprised as more information is available.
Keith A. Metcalf, PE
Deputy Secretary of Transportation
310 Maple Park Ave SE – PO Box 47316
Olympia, WA 98504-7316
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310 Maple Park Ave SE · Olympia, WA 98504