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Federal DBE Program

The purpose of the Federal DBE Program is to increase opportunities for minority- and women-owned small businesses to participate in federally-funded transportation-related contracts and to address any potential discrimination against DBEs in the awards of those contracts. Chapter 49 Part 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR Part 26) outlines the rules and objectives of the DBE program. As detailed in 49 CFR Part 26, through the Federal DBE Program USDOT intends to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of USDOT-assisted contracts in its highway, transit, and airport financial assistance programs;
  • Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for USDOT-assisted contracts;
  • Ensure that implementations of the Federal DBE Program are narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;
  • Ensure only firms that fully meet eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs;
  • Help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in USDOT-assisted contracts;
  • Assist in the development of minority- and women-owned businesses so that they can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program; and
  • Provide appropriate flexibility to recipients of federal financial assistance in establishing and providing opportunities for DBEs.

Federal Regulations

Please use the following links to access federal regulations guiding the implementation of the Federal DBE Program.

49 CFR Part 26. 49 CFR Part 26 outlines rules that guide the implementation of the Federal DBE Program for recipients of USDOT funds, including WSDOT. Access the full document.

49 CFR Part 26 – Official Q & A. USDOT offers a Q&A document to provide additional guidance to agencies receiving USDOT funds and implementing the Federal DBE Program. Access FAQs 49 CFR part 26.

Tips for Goal-setting. USDOT’s Tips for Goal-setting provides fund recipients with additional written guidance on how to set their overall aspirational DBE goals and on how they should project the portions of their DBE goals that could be met through race- and gender-neutral measures. See Tips for Goal Setting.

Final Rule. USDOT released a Final Rule effective February 2011 that affects how fund recipients should implement different aspects of the Federal DBE Program, including calculating availability and determining which firms should be considered eligible for DBE certification. See the Final Rule.

How to Become Certified

Your business might be eligible for DBE certification if it is owned and operated by a member of a group that USDOT considers to be disadvantaged. See full ownership, revenue, and financial requirements for DBE certification.

If you think that your business meets the criteria for DBE certification, you should contact the Washington State Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise (OMWBE) to start the application process. OMWBE is the State of Washington’s Unified Certified Program for DBE certification and accepts, reviews, and approves or denies all DBE certification applications on behalf of WSDOT. Access the OMWBE certification site and the DBE certification application.

Please contact OMWBE or the WSDOT Office of Equal Opportunity with any questions:

Washington State Office of Minority
and Women’s Business Enterprises
210 11th Avenue SW, Suite 401
Olympia, WA 98501
Phone: 866-208-1064

Washington State DOT
Office of Equal Opportunity
PO Box 47314
310 Maple Park
Olympia WA 98504-7314
Phone: 360-705-7090