Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

The Chicago Transit Authority's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program demonstrates the Authority's continued commitment to the success of minority/and women-owned businesses by promoting contracting opportunities to DBEs within transit.

The Chicago Transit Authority's DBE program is governed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) 49 CFR Part 26. Disadvantaged businesses wanting to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them under the DBE program must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).

DBE Policy Statement


Your New Blue DBE Participation Goal

The $495 million dollar plan, called “Your New Blue”, includes numerous track and station improvement projects along a 12.5-mile stretch of the Blue Line O’Hare Branch between the Grand and Cumberland stations, as well as upgrades to the signal system between the Jefferson Park and O’Hare stations.

These improvements will provide faster, more comfortable and more reliable commutes for the more than 80,000 weekday customers who use stations along the branch, reaching 25 million rides last year. “Your New Blue” is the largest comprehensive investment in this line since the O’Hare branch extension was built from Jefferson Park to O’Hare in 1983.

The Diversity Programs Department at the CTA has used the following methodology to come up with a project specific DBE goal on the federally funded portion of “Your New Blue”. The public comment period is open from November 6, 2014 to December 6, 2014. Please send any comments to

PDF documentYour New Blue DBE Participation Goal


Certification Unit Information

Illinois Unified Certification Program - IL UCP

Pursuant to the requirements of the federal regulations, 49 CFR, Part 26, all recipients of federal-aid must implement a "one-stop" certification process for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. As a result of this requirement, the Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Department of Transportation, City of Chicago, Metra, and Pace have established the IL UCP.

The IL UCP is based on the concept of certification reciprocity among the agencies. The IL UCP provides "one stop shopping" to applicants for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification, such that an applicant needs only to apply once for DBE certification. This DBE certification will be honored by all participating IL UCP agencies in the State of Illinois.


Certification (DBE) Application

The IL UCP application has been developed to determine whether your firm is eligible for the Authority's DBE program and to provide information regarding the certification of your firm in your designated area of expertise. In order to become certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, your firm must meet the eligibility standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Regulation 49 C.F.R., Part 26. Once a firm is certified by CTA as a DBE, it will be honored by all IL UCP participating agencies. We suggest you contact each agency in order to receive additional information pertaining to their respective bidding opportunities.

You may apply for and maintain your DBE certification on-line, or hard copies of the application can be returned to:

Diversity Programs Department
567 W. Lake Street 4th Flr.
Chicago, IL 60661

If you need assistance, or have questions regarding completion of the application, please contact us at (312) 681-2601 or email


DBE Directory

The State of Illinois regularly publishes a listing of all IL UCP certified DBE businesses. See the latest list of Certified DBE Businesses

Assistance Agencies

There are a number of agencies that provide assistance to DBE firms. These Assistance Agencies provide service in one or more of the following areas:

  • Certification: These agencies can explain the certification process and help with the completion of the certification application.
  • Construction: These agencies have programs and services specifically designed to assist companies seeking work on CTA sponsored construction projects. Assistance often includes links to prime contractors, help with preparing bids, explanation of DBE requirements and access to plans and specifications.
  • Bid Notification: Assistance Agencies are notified of all formal bid advertisements by CTA on a daily basis. In turn, these advertisements are shared with their respective members. 

See also


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