Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) Program


Federal Funding & Support

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has had in effect for more than 20 years a policy of helping small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including minorities and women, in participating in contracting opportunities created by DOT financial assistance programs.

The department, through its operating administrations, distributes billions annually to help finance thousands of projects across the country. Approximately 85% of the assistance dollars is for construction. The major portion of the construction funds is allocated to state highway and transportation agencies for highway construction. The balance is provided to local public transit and airport authorities for mass transit and airport facilities.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Goals

Each DOT-assisted state and local transportation agency is required to establish narrowly-tailored Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) goals. Then these DOT-assisted agencies evaluate their DOT-assisted contracts throughout the year and establish contract specific DBE subcontracting goals where these goals are needed to ensure nondiscrimination in federally-assisted procurements.

The level of DBE subcontracting goals may vary from their approved DBE goal. At the end of the year, however, the amount of contract/subcontract awards to DBEs should be consistent with the overall goal.