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March 8, 2018

WSDOT wants to tweak DBE program to get more African Americans firms

The Washington State Department of Transportation says a 2017 disparity study showed that African American-owned businesses are significantly underused in its DBE program compared to other socially and economically disadvantaged groups.

To rectify that, WSDOT is seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to adjust the DBE program to improve inclusion of African American-owned firms on agency construction and consulting contracts. If approved, prime contractors would earn four times the DBE goal credit for including a firm owned and controlled by an African American.

WSDOT will hold two informational meetings on the proposed changes. Contractors, trade and labor organizations, small and disadvantaged businesses and others can attend.

The first meeting will be held 4-6 p.m. March 26 at South Seattle College, Georgetown Campus, Room C110/111, 6737 Corson Ave. S., Seattle. The second will be held 4-6 p.m. March 27 in the Spokane County Conference Room, 2714 N. Mayfair St., Spokane.

A webinar will be held 10–11:30 a.m. on March 30.

Written comments on the waiver can be submitted by mail or email until April 20 to: Jackie Bayne, Policy & Reporting Manager, WSDOT, Office of Equal Opportunity, P.O. Box 47314, Olympia, WA 98504-7314; BayneJ@wsdot.wa.gov.

The documents can be viewed at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/equalopportunity.

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