The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is considering changes to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program that would remove close to one-third of those currently certified as DBEs.
This proposed change comes pursuant to the ongoing review of the Caltrans 2016 Availability and Disparity Study. The shrinkage in the program would come from removing white women and subcontinental Asians from the program.
Industry group United Contractors has come out in strong opposition to the proposed change by Caltrans, saying that removing the specified groups from DBE goals "would be a tremendous step backward for Caltrans, and for all of our contractors who bid and perform work for Caltrans."
The organization bases their opposition not only on concern for businesses that might lose their certification, but also over the potential difficulties prime contractors may face when trying to meet the new DBE goals. In connection with this concern, it has been noted that Caltrans is considering raising the overall DBE goal from 12.5 percent to 17.6 percent.
Caltrans will be holding meetings for stakeholders throughout California from May 8th to May 19th regarding proposed changes to the DBE program based on the disparity study. On May 18th, in particular, Caltrans will host an industry meeting on potential changes to the DBE goal, at a venue that has not yet been decided upon.