For more information: Shelley M. Snow, ODOT Public Affairs, 503-986-3438 (cell: 503-881-5362)
SALEM – The Federal Highway Administration has approved an increased goal for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) Program. The approved overall goal is 16.95% for federal fiscal year 2013, of which 5.45% is expected to be attained through race- and gender-conscious means. This is an increase over the previous goal, which was 11.5%, with a 3% race- and gender-conscious breakout. To meet the race- and gender-conscious portion of the overall goal, ODOT will set DBE goals on select contracts in the areas of construction and architectural and engineering services.
Under 9th Circuit case law, departments of transportation are allowed to set goals on contracts only for groups where disparity has been proven. Studies conducted in 2007 and 2011 on ODOT contracting activities found disparities in certain areas, such as in awarding construction contracts to African-American owned businesses in the Portland area. The studies also found that setting goals helped reduce those disparities. After presenting the information to FWHA, ODOT has received approval to increase its goals in the areas still showing disparity, as found in the 2011 study.
Specifically, disparities were found with African American-owned and Subcontinent Asian-owned DBEs in the area of construction contracts, and in all DBEs (except those owned by Asian Pacific Americans) in the area of architectural and engineering contracts. A DBE includes small businesses that are at least 51% owned by:
- Minorities: Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans
- Women, or
- Other individuals on a case-by-case basis
The overall DBE goal is effective beginning Oct. 1, 2012. Learn more at ODOT’s Office of Civil Rights website.