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


October 8, 2015 - CTA & NAPA Present: Supply Chain Open House

October 13, 2015 - Professional Service Outreach

November 12, 2015 - 18th Annual Transportation Symposium

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 Announcements
Effective immediately, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certified firms will no longer be required to submit Continued Eligibility Affidavits (CEAs) every five years as a requirement for continued eligibility. Firms will continue to confirm their eligibility on an annual basis by submitting a signed and notarized No Change Affidavit (NCA). The NCA must be signed by all individuals whose socio and economic status is relied upon for certification.

The revised NCA supporting document checklist will only require that a firm submit a copy of the current year business tax returns (e.g., 1120, 1120S, 1065) including all schedules and attachments, and a complete copy of the individual tax returns (1040) including all schedules and attachments. Personal Financial Statements are no longer required to be submitted on an annual basis.

At the CTA’s discretion, a firm may be required to undergo an enhanced review process to confirm that the firm’s majority owner(s) continue to meet the personal net worth criteria as found in 49 CFR 26.67(2)(i). Please note, should an enhanced review be necessary, a Personal Financial Statement and supporting documentation will be required. 
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 Floor
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. 

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