Chicago Transit Authority Adopts New DBE Operating Program

December 9, 2009

The Chicago Transit Board today approved a new Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program which sets a 25 percent annual DBE agency goal in 2010 for contracts funded out of CTA’s operating budget.  An amendment to the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act in 2008 requires the CTA to establish a DBE program for non-federally funded contracts effective January 18, 2010. 

To determine what program requirements would work best, the CTA conducted a study of past operating contract expenditures and the current number of DBE firms.  As a result of this study, the CTA established narrowly tailored goals for DBE participation on a contract-by-contract basis. The 25 percent annual goal is also based on historical purchasing data, subcontracting opportunities and the availability of DBE firms for the industry and services being provided in a specific contract.

"This is an important step in the right direction as we continue to foster the growth of the agency's DBE program," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. "The CTA works every day to ensure that the agency provides a level playing field and maximum participation for all businesses. This program will provide a great way for smaller businesses to get a foot in the door." 

"The CTA works to cultivate and develop relationships with community, local and small businesses," said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. "A good DBE program is fundamental to that effort."

CTA has made a number of changes to its DBE program over the last few months in an effort to increase participation. In September, CTA began hosting monthly certification workshops for potential vendors that provide an overview of the program, list what items are currently out for bid and supply a bid forecast. The agency also has hosted several meet-and-greets between CTA vendors and certified DBE firms to help a variety of organizations cultivate business relationships that can improve their status when submitting bids for work.

Additional outreach efforts will include providing a longer bid lead time to give more companies the chance to identify ways to meet the DBE requirements, creating partnerships with vendor assist agencies and providing interested parties with information via electronic newsletter, posting payment information online and posting contracting opportunities online.

As a recipient of federal funding, the CTA is required to operate a DBE program. The CTA has an agency goal of 30 percent DBE participation on all capital-funded contracts in accordance with federal regulations.
A company can be certified as a DBE if it is a small business as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration and 51 percent of the ownership belongs to an individual who is a disadvantaged individual, minority or a woman, who controls the company and whose personal wealth does not exceed $750,000. 

Vendors should visit http://www.transitchicago.com/business for more information on doing business with the CTA.

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