As a part of their responsibilities for implementing a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, MDOT must report regularly to the FHWA on their status towards attainment of their annual DBE participation goal. In a recent report covering the first six months of this FY20 (October 2019 thru March 2020), MDOT reported a DBE participation attainment of 5.63% based on project awards and DBE commitments. This attainment percentage was their lowest six-month reported participation percentage in over a decade and considerably below their FY20 goal of 8.03%.
Based on this reported low DBE participation attainment, MDOT falls under the additional scrutiny of the FHWA and is required to develop and implement a corrective action plan detailing the steps they will take to more positively move their DBE participation attainment toward their annual goal.
MDOT Director Paul Ajegba, in his commitment to engage and collaborate with MITA in vetting any strategic changes they would propose for their DBE program, did comment that the Department may, as a part of their Good Faith Effort (GFE) analysis, more strongly consider the DBE participation efforts of the 2nd low bidder. Director Ajegba implied that the Department may perhaps decide to award the contract to the 2nd low bidder based on the higher DBE participation effort of that bidder.
Other strategic program changes Director Ajegba and his leadership team identified as being under consideration are, including DBE participation goals on more projects, higher DBE participation goals on larger projects, and more aggressive outreach by the Department to grow the DBE contractor community in terms of work classification diversity and geographic location.
MITA brings this MDOT DBE program attainment issue to your attention to heighten your awareness of the FHWA scrutiny so that all bidders on MDOT projects remain diligent in your responsibilities and aggressive in your actions to meet the DBE participation goals on projects that you are bidding.
MITA will keep all members informed of any strategic DBE Program changes MDOT plans to implement to help achieve their annual DBE participation goal.
If you have any questions, please contact Glenn Bukoski, VP of Engineering Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rachelle VanDeventer, VP of Industry Relations, at rachellevandeventer@thinkmita.