APTA, Coalition Members Ask USDOT to Finalize DBE Final Rule


APTA and three coalition members sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg Dec. 20 regarding USDOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Implementation Modifications Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The coalition strongly urges the agency to bifurcate and expeditiously finalize the portion of the final rule dealing with the DBE personal net worth cap (PNW cap).

The coalition members are April Rai, president and CEO, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO); Sara Stickler, president and CEO, WTS, International; and Alva Carrasco, president, Latinos in Transit. They noted that they and APTA represent tens of thousands of government entities and businesses of all sizes, including minority- and women-owned businesses. Its members collectively employ millions of American workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

The PNW cap, the letter stated, has not been updated for more than a decade, and “acts as an artificial barrier for experienced and qualified DBE firms who have exceeded the current threshold, preventing them from participating in historic investments made by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

The letter also noted that bifurcating and finalizing the PNW cap proposal prior to finalizing the DBE rulemaking “is within the department’s authority, is non-controversial, and nonsignificant under Executive Order 12866 because increasing the PNW cap has quantifiable positive impact on DBE and small disadvantaged businesses.”

The delay in finalizing the DBE regulation, including increasing the PNW cap, has meant that many DBEs are missing the opportunity to participate in the Administration’s promise to fully deliver infrastructure investment to the American people, the coalition stated. “This is because many DBE businesses have exceeded the obsolete PNW threshold, making them ineligible to participate as a DBE on infrastructure projects. Moreover, we often hear from our members there is no incentive for prime contractors to utilize minority- and women-owned businesses if they are not in the DBE program.”