July 10, 2002

The Chicago Transit Board at its monthly meeting today approved an Illinois Unified Certification Program (IL UCP) for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms seeking to do business with the Chicago Transit Authority, City of Chicago, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Metra and Pace.

The new unified certification requirement was developed to address two issues. The first issue relates to the time and expense it takes DBE firms hoping to work in more than one jurisdiction and the other was a desire to create a uniform certification process. The results are standardized certification eligibility forms to be used by state U.S. Department of Transportation funding recipients.

"Implementing a unified certification requirement will provide the CTA with a larger pool of DBE vendors available to provide services to the CTA," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?DBE firms will also benefit from this streamlined approach because it eliminates multiple certification processes. The new requirements make good business and economic sense especially for companies wary of doing business with governmental agencies."

All the DBE firms currently doing business with the five principal agencies will be combined into one consolidated directory and each agency can draw from that directory. Those firms will also be ?grandfathered? into the IL UCP and new firms will only need to complete one certification form to be considered eligible for work by all five agencies.

?This program will enable a larger group of DBE firms to participate in the bid process," CTA President Frank Kruesi explained. ?As the pool of eligible DBE firms expands it allows the CTA to receive more competitive bids. Another benefit of the increasing number of DBE firms is that it better enables us to reach our goal of awarding 30 percent of our contracts to eligible DBE firms."

The new Illinois Unified Certification Program will also be implemented in other areas throughout the state that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation such as Decatur Airport, Quad City Airport, Decatur Public Transit, Madison County Transit and others. This means DBE firms already certified will be eligible to work with these other state agencies as well.

DBE firms participating in the IL UCP will be certified for five-year terms and will be able to participate as eligible DBEs on any contracts involving federal funds in Illinois, including CTA contracts. In order to remain eligible the DBE firms must submit an annual affidavit verifying that their DBE status has not changed.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) define Disadvantaged Business Enterprises as small businesses owned by those who are socially and economically disadvantaged, minorities or women. As a recipient of federal funding, the CTA is required to operate a DBE program.

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