|Posted:||March 18, 2022 09:04 AM|
|From:||Representative Austin A. Davis|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Updating the Transportation Code to Improve the Participation of Small, Diverse, and Veteran-Owned Businesses|
|In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to update the Diverse Business (DB) Program provisions of the Transportation Code to enhance state and local transportation contract opportunities for small, diverse, and veteran-owned businesses.
Right now, Pennsylvania transportation organizations that receive financial assistance from the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) must establish narrowly tailored goals for the participation of disadvantaged businesses under the provisions of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. This program seeks to address the legal, social, and economic barriers that have historically hindered the ability of minorities and women to successfully own and operate businesses in the transportation industry.
In Pennsylvania, PennDOT established a similar Diverse Business (DB) Program that applies to state-funded public transportation contracts. But unlike the federal program, ours is unable to set specific goals and instead adheres to a “good faith effort” standard that does little to incentivize the solicitation of small and diverse businesses. In fact, a 2018 disparity study of PennDOT indicated that substantial racial, ethnic, and gender disparities exist in the award of state-funded contracts for transportation work. Without stronger regulations, our small and diverse business owners will continue to face complex barriers to participation.
The updates and enhancements made by my legislation will enable PennDOT to address their procurement disparities and bring our state program in line with the federal regulations that most of our public transportation agencies have adhered to for decades. By allowing organizations to use their existing goal-setting methodology, we can improve diverse business participation while minimizing administrative burden.
Please join me in improving the procurement process for all of our hardworking small, diverse, and veteran-owned businesses across the Commonwealth. Thank you for your consideration.
Introduced as HB2462