Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

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Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

DBE stands for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program is a federal program managed by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) as set forth in 49 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Part 26 and Part 23 to recruit socially and/or economically disadvantaged firms in DOT sponsored projects. The goals of the program are to remedy past and current discrimination business enterprises, ensure a “level playing field” in which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts, improve the flexibility and efficiency of the DBE program, and reduce burdens on small businesses.

Any transportation-related project, including aviation, highway, or public transportation, which is supported in whole or in part by federal funding, must include an opportunity for DBE participation.

Because the Laredo Transit Management Incorporated (El Metro) and the City of Laredo receive federal funding from the Department of Transportation, we must in turn utilize as much as possible of that funding with small, minority-owned, and/or woman-owned companies.

Please note that DBE status is not required to do business with El Metro; however, El Metro through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) must seek out and certify eligible and interested firms in Laredo and the surrounding areas. Each year El Metro must report to the Department of Transportation how much of their funding went to DBEs and it can only count those that are certified as such.

Public Consultation and Publication

(1) Consultation: In establishing an overall goal, El Metro provided time for public consultation. This took place virtually on July 8, 2021. The link to the video of the event is located here:

Invitations were sent to all DBEs from the Texas Unified Certification Program as well as non- DBEs, majority business owners, minority business owners, women owners, advocacy, general contractor, professional service, trade association groups, community organizations, and other officials or organizations which could be expected to have information concerning:

1) The availability of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged businesses;
2) The effects of discrimination on opportunities for DBEs, and
3) El Metro’s efforts to establish a level playing field for the participation of DBEs.

El Metro has been publicizing DBE participation in bids through the City of Laredo Purchasing Department. DBE goals for FY 2021-2023 are 3.85 percent. Below are the FTA El Metro FY21-23 DBE Goals for public viewing.

Certification Process

A few years ago, if you wanted to do business as a DBE statewide in Texas, you would have to fill out dozens of applications with entities around the State. Then the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) required that all DOT-funded recipients participate in a “unified certification program” for each state in the USA in an effort to alleviate the paperwork burden on small businesses. As a result, in October 2002 Texas established a system whereby six (6) major organizations now certify DBE firms across the state. Now, Texas DBE firms can only be certified by the agency servicing the county in which their home office is located. Firms are then entered into one centralized database holding all DBEs certified in Texas. DBEs are eligible to bid on DOT-funded contracts throughout the state.

For information on becoming a DBE in Laredo, please contact the Texas Department of Transportation Laredo District Office at (956)712-7402. In addition, you may find additional information at https://www.txdot.gov/business/partnerships/dbe.html

Once the application and all necessary documentation have been submitted and reviewed, a site visit will be conducted at the business location. Determination of DBE eligibility and recommendation of DBE certification will be made at the conclusion of the process. Successful applicants will be placed on the statewide DBE database and issued a DBE certificate valid for 3 years.

DBE for FY21-23

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