On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As a result, the State of Indiana will receive $658 million in federal highway funds.
Because this is federal money, federal law requires INDOT and Local Governments to set contract goals for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation. If you are a minority or woman owned company that is not certified as a DBE in the State of Indiana, and you provide services relevant to highway construction projects, you may qualify for DBE certification.
To qualify for certification as a DBE, your firm must meet the eligibility standards established in federal regulations 49 CFR Part 26, summarized below.
The owner of a for-profit firm must be a socially and economically disadvantaged individual who is a citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted permanent resident. The following classes are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged under the federal regulations:
- Asian Pacific
- Asian India
- Native American
While these groups have a presumption of social disadvantage, any individual who can establish social and economic disadvantage by a preponderance of the evidence, based on guidelines set forth in Appendix E to 49 CFR Part 26, may qualify.
The socially and economically disadvantaged owner must:
- Own at least 51% of the firm.
- Have an individual personal net worth, excluding the value of the disadvantaged owner’s primary residence and ownership interest in the firm, of less than $750,000.
- Have contributed capital to acquire ownership that is “real and substantial”and derived from independently owned resources.
- Must “control” the day-to-day activities of the firm, meaning that he or she must have expertise, operational and managerial control, and independence from non-DBE firms.
A DBE firm must be a small business. This means that a firm applying for DBE status may not have gross receipts, averaged over a three-year period, that exceed the Small Business Administration size standards associated with the specific type of firm. See 13 CFR Part 121. In no case, may a DBE firm’s gross receipts averaged over a three-year period exceed $20.4 million.
If you believe your firm qualifies for DBE certification, log on to the INDOT DBE website for information and an application.
For those of you that are currently DBE certified and perform highway construction work, get prepared:
- Review your contact information in the INDOT repository to ensure it is up-to-date and accurate.
- Sign up on the “Contract Notification List” and checkout the “Doing Business with INDOT, Contractors” for upcoming contract letting information. There is a wealth of information on this page with links to all the information you will need to submit bids to prime contractors.
- Be aware that INDOT is posting all ARRA information on the Internet.
- Market yourself and step-up networking efforts with prime contractors. Let them know that you are aware of this increase in construction projects and would like to be included in their bidding plans.