New Rules to Affect DBE Hiring


From left: Irene Marion, Angela Berry-Roberson, Monica McCallum, Dawn Distler, Catherine LaFata. Photo by Evrim Icoz Photography.

USDOT is out with a host of new rules for hiring DBEs, and the changes go into effect May 7. At the Trajectory for Growth: Strategies for DBE Success panel on the new regulations, Irene Marion, director of the Departmental Office of Civil Rights at USDOT, told Mobility Conference attendees that “the DBE program [and the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program] have been at the forefront.” The goal is more wealth creation for minority firms.

“These changes will encourage DBEs to stay in the program”, according to Catherine LaFata, transportation equity director for HDR, adding the company works hard to find, qualify, and use DBE contractors.

The goal of USDOT, according to Angela Berry-Roberson, senior advisor to the Office of Civil Rights, is to modernize and improve provisions for benefit, reduce the burden on firms, grow firm capacity and owner wealth, and increase visibility and improve the integrity of the program.

Another large change is a two-tiered system for qualifying DBE contractors. Monica McCallum, division chief of regional operations, Office of Civil Rights, FTA, believes it will give smaller public transit agencies more flexibility. “We hope that this is a pretty straight forward, streamlined approach.”

Dawn Distler, CEO, METRO Regional Transit Authority, Akron, OH, embraces the changes, saying, “you can’t say it has to be the lowest bid.” Her agency looks for minority contractors across the board, even down to who will deliver sandwiches to events and meetings.

What is being changed is Final rule 49 part 23 and 26. Find the full changes with a side-by-side look at the old rules and the new ones for part 23 here and for part 26 here.

Eve Williams, President/Chief Executive Officer, Dikita Engineering, was moderator.

See more images from the conference.