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Title 49

Displaying title 49, up to date as of 9/22/2021. Title 49 was last amended 9/13/2021.

Title 49

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Subpart B - Administrative Requirements for DBE Programs for Federally-Assisted Contracting
§ 26.21 Who must have a DBE program?

(a) If you are in one of these categories and let DOT-assisted contracts, you must have a DBE program meeting the requirements of this part:

(1) All FHWA primary recipients receiving funds authorized by a statute to which this part applies;

(2) FTA recipients receiving planning, capital and/or operating assistance who will award prime contracts (excluding transit vehicle purchases) the cumulative total value of which exceeds $250,000 in FTA funds in a Federal fiscal year;

(3) FAA recipients receiving grants for airport planning or development who will award prime contracts the cumulative total value of which exceeds $250,000 in FAA funds in a Federal fiscal year.


(1) You must submit a DBE program conforming to this part by August 31, 1999 to the concerned operating administration (OA). Once the OA has approved your program, the approval counts for all of your DOT-assisted programs (except that goals are reviewed by the particular operating administration that provides funding for your DOT-assisted contracts).

(2) You do not have to submit regular updates of your DBE programs, as long as you remain in compliance. However, you must submit significant changes in the program for approval.

(c) You are not eligible to receive DOT financial assistance unless DOT has approved your DBE program and you are in compliance with it and this part. You must continue to carry out your program until all funds from DOT financial assistance have been expended.

[64 FR 5126, Feb. 2, 1999, as amended at 64 FR 34570, June 28, 1999; 65 FR 68951, Nov. 15, 2000; 79 FR 59593, Oct. 2, 2014]

§ 26.23 What is the requirement for a policy statement?

You must issue a signed and dated policy statement that expresses your commitment to your DBE program, states its objectives, and outlines responsibilities for its implementation. You must circulate the statement throughout your organization and to the DBE and non-DBE business communities that perform work on your DOT-assisted contracts.

§ 26.25 What is the requirement for a liaison officer?

You must have a DBE liaison officer, who shall have direct, independent access to your Chief Executive Officer concerning DBE program matters. The liaison officer shall be responsible for implementing all aspects of your DBE program. You must also have adequate staff to administer the program in compliance with this part.

§ 26.27 What efforts must recipients make concerning DBE financial institutions?

You must thoroughly investigate the full extent of services offered by financial institutions owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in your community and make reasonable efforts to use these institutions. You must also encourage prime contractors to use such institutions.

§ 26.29 What prompt payment mechanisms must recipients have?

(a) You must establish, as part of your DBE program, a contract clause to require prime contractors to pay subcontractors for satisfactory performance of their contracts no later than 30 days from receipt of each payment you make to the prime contractor.

(b) You must ensure prompt and full payment of retainage from the prime contractor to the subcontractor within 30 days after the subcontractor's work is satisfactorily completed. You must use one of the following methods to comply with this requirement:

(1) You may decline to hold retainage from prime contractors and prohibit prime contractors from holding retainage from subcontractors.

(2) You may decline to hold retainage from prime contractors and require a contract clause obligating prime contractors to make prompt and full payment of any retainage kept by prime contractor to the subcontractor within 30 days after the subcontractor's work is satisfactorily completed.

(3) You may hold retainage from prime contractors and provide for prompt and regular incremental acceptances of portions of the prime contract, pay retainage to prime contractors based on these acceptances, and require a contract clause obligating the prime contractor to pay all retainage owed to the subcontractor for satisfactory completion of the accepted work within 30 days after your payment to the prime contractor.

(c) For purposes of this section, a subcontractor's work is satisfactorily completed when all the tasks called for in the subcontract have been accomplished and documented as required by the recipient. When a recipient has made an incremental acceptance of a portion of a prime contract, the work of a subcontractor covered by that acceptance is deemed to be satisfactorily completed.

(d) Your DBE program must provide appropriate means to enforce the requirements of this section. These means may include appropriate penalties for failure to comply, the terms and conditions of which you set. Your program may also provide that any delay or postponement of payment among the parties may take place only for good cause, with your prior written approval.

(e) You may also establish, as part of your DBE program, any of the following additional mechanisms to ensure prompt payment:

(1) A contract clause that requires prime contractors to include in their subcontracts language providing that prime contractors and subcontractors will use appropriate alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve payment disputes. You may specify the nature of such mechanisms.

(2) A contract clause providing that the prime contractor will not be reimbursed for work performed by subcontractors unless and until the prime contractor ensures that the subcontractors are promptly paid for the work they have performed.

(3) Other mechanisms, consistent with this part and applicable state and local law, to ensure that DBEs and other contractors are fully and promptly paid.

[68 FR 35553, June 16, 2003]

§ 26.31 What information must you include in your DBE directory?

(a) In the directory required under § 26.81(g) of this Part, you must list all firms eligible to participate as DBEs in your program. In the listing for each firm, you must include its address, phone number, and the types of work the firm has been certified to perform as a DBE.

(b) You must list each type of work for which a firm is eligible to be certified by using the most specific NAICS code available to describe each type of work. You must make any changes to your current directory entries necessary to meet the requirement of this paragraph (a) by August 26, 2011.

[76 FR 5096, Jan. 28, 2011]

§ 26.33 What steps must a recipient take to address overconcentration of DBEs in certain types of work?

(a) If you determine that DBE firms are so overconcentrated in a certain type of work as to unduly burden the opportunity of non-DBE firms to participate in this type of work, you must devise appropriate measures to address this overconcentration.

(b) These measures may include the use of incentives, technical assistance, business development programs, mentor-protégé programs, and other appropriate measures designed to assist DBEs in performing work outside of the specific field in which you have determined that non-DBEs are unduly burdened. You may also consider varying your use of contract goals, to the extent consistent with § 26.51, to unsure that non-DBEs are not unfairly prevented from competing for subcontracts.

(c) You must obtain the approval of the concerned DOT operating administration for your determination of overconcentration and the measures you devise to address it. Once approved, the measures become part of your DBE program.

§ 26.35 What role do business development and mentor-protégé programs have in the DBE program?

(a) You may or, if an operating administration directs you to, you must establish a DBE business development program (BDP) to assist firms in gaining the ability to compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program. You may require a DBE firm, as a condition of receiving assistance through the BDP, to agree to terminate its participation in the DBE program after a certain time has passed or certain objectives have been reached. See Appendix C of this part for guidance on administering BDP programs.

(b) As part of a BDP or separately, you may establish a “mentor-protégé” program, in which another DBE or non-DBE firm is the principal source of business development assistance to a DBE firm.

(1) Only firms you have certified as DBEs before they are proposed for participation in a mentor-protégé program are eligible to participate in the mentor-protégé program.

(2) During the course of the mentor-protégé relationship, you must:

(i) Not award DBE credit to a non-DBE mentor firm for using its own protégé firm for more than one half of its goal on any contract let by the recipient; and

(ii) Not award DBE credit to a non-DBE mentor firm for using its own protégé firm for more than every other contract performed by the protégé firm.

(3) For purposes of making determinations of business size under this part, you must not treat protégé firms as affiliates of mentor firms, when both firms are participating under an approved mentor-protégé program. See Appendix D of this part for guidance concerning the operation of mentor-protégé programs.

(c) Your BDPs and mentor-protégé programs must be approved by the concerned operating administration before you implement them. Once approved, they become part of your DBE program.

§ 26.37 What are a recipient's responsibilities for monitoring the performance of other program participants?

(a) You must implement appropriate mechanisms to ensure compliance with the part's requirements by all program participants (e.g., applying legal and contract remedies available under Federal, state and local law). You must set forth these mechanisms in your DBE program.

(b) Your DBE program must also include a monitoring and enforcement mechanism to ensure that work committed to DBEs at contract award or subsequently (e.g., as the result of modification to the contract) is actually performed by the DBEs to which the work was committed. This mechanism must include a written certification that you have reviewed contracting records and monitored work sites in your state for this purpose. The monitoring to which this paragraph refers may be conducted in conjunction with monitoring of contract performance for other purposes (e.g., close-out reviews for a contract).

(c) This mechanism must provide for a running tally of actual DBE attainments (e.g., payments actually made to DBE firms), including a means of comparing these attainments to commitments. In your reports of DBE participation to the Department, you must display both commitments and attainments.

[64 FR 5126, Feb. 2, 1999, as amended at 65 FR 68951, Nov. 15, 2000; 68 FR 35554, June 16, 2003; 76 FR 5097, Jan. 28, 2011]

§ 26.39 Fostering small business participation.

(a) Your DBE program must include an element to structure contracting requirements to facilitate competition by small business concerns, taking all reasonable steps to eliminate obstacles to their participation, including unnecessary and unjustified bundling of contract requirements that may preclude small business participation in procurements as prime contractors or subcontractors.

(b) This element must be submitted to the appropriate DOT operating administration for approval as a part of your DBE program by February 28, 2012. As part of this program element you may include, but are not limited to, the following strategies:

(1) Establishing a race-neutral small business set-aside for prime contracts under a stated amount (e.g., $1 million).

(2) In multi-year design-build contracts or other large contracts (e.g., for “megaprojects”) requiring bidders on the prime contract to specify elements of the contract or specific subcontracts that are of a size that small businesses, including DBEs, can reasonably perform.

(3) On prime contracts not having DBE contract goals, requiring the prime contractor to provide subcontracting opportunities of a size that small businesses, including DBEs, can reasonably perform, rather than self-performing all the work involved.

(4) Identifying alternative acquisition strategies and structuring procurements to facilitate the ability of consortia or joint ventures consisting of small businesses, including DBEs, to compete for and perform prime contracts.

(5) To meet the portion of your overall goal you project to meet through race-neutral measures, ensuring that a reasonable number of prime contracts are of a size that small businesses, including DBEs, can reasonably perform.

(c) You must actively implement your program elements to foster small business participation. Doing so is a requirement of good faith implementation of your DBE program.

[76 FR 5097, Jan. 28, 2011]