WASHINGTON - Maryland Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a senior member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, today applauded the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), after their Department announced a final rulemaking concerning Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs). DBEs are businesses operated by minorities or economically disadvantaged owners.
The rulemaking, which will take effect on February 28, will encourage and assist these businesses to compete for, and secure, government contracts by requiring greater accountability from state DOTs for their good faith efforts to meet their DBE goals and by making it easier for a DBE to be certified in multiple states. Critically, this rulemaking raises the personal net worth cap that applies to DBE owners; this cap had not been adjusted since 1989.
“As we rebuild America from the pavement up, it is critical that every American has the opportunity to help in that effort,” said Cummings. “I commend Secretary Ray LaHood and his staff for creating a rule that will encourage Americans in disadvantaged businesses that may not think they have a chance to compete with the big firms, to show why the underdog has always been so popular with Americans. These are firms that can work efficiently and effectively, and they deserve the chance to serve the American people. Implementation of these rules will ensure that the USDOT’s DBE program responds effectively to current, real-world conditions.”
Cummings has consistently worked with DOT and other agencies through his work on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to improve DBE participation and contracting.
The DOT created the DBE program with three goals:
To ensure that small DBEs can compete fairly for federally funded transportation-related projects.
To ensure that only eligible firms participate as DBEs.
To assist DBE firms in competing outside the DBE Program.