The United States Department of Transportation has released new program implementation guidelines for the DBE program. The new guidelines are the result of the proposed rulemaking process which started in 2012. The new guidelines are effective 30 days from the date of publication and are part of what is now the DBE Final Rule for the DBE program. The new DBE Final Rule and highlights of the new rule can be found on the USDOT Departmental Office of Civil Rights website which states:
“The Department has issued a final rule amending its disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program at 49 CFR Part 26. The final rule improves DBE program implementation in three major areas. First, the rule revises the uniform certification application and reporting forms, creates a uniform personal net worth form for use by applicant owners, and collects data required by the Department’s surface transportation reauthorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Second, the rule strengthens the certification-related program provisions, which includes adding a new section authorizing summary suspensions under specified circumstances. Third, the rule modifies several other program provisions concerning such subjects as: overall goal setting, good faith efforts, transit vehicle manufacturers, and counting for trucking companies.”
Although some DBEs were hopeful that more would be done to ease the paperwork burden associated with maintaining active DBE certifications in multiple states, the new rule stops short of creating a national DBE certification process. Consequently, DBEs seeking certification in multiple states can still be required to submit identical information to each state for which they seek to become certified as a DBE.
The new rule also seeks to standardize the good faith effort procedures of USDOT recipients by requiring that contractors submit listings of DBE subcontractors for a DOT-assisted project with a contract goal no later than seven days after their bid submission. This period will be reduced to five days after bid submission on January 1, 2017.