August 7, 2002

The Chicago Transit Board at its monthly meeting today approved a fiscal year 2003 goal of awarding 30 percent of its contracts to Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms seeking to participate in the CTA's procurement process. Goal setting helps assure that small business enterprises certified and defined as DBEs will have a fair opportunity to participate in CTA contracts.

?The CTA serves a diverse community in Chicago and 40 suburbs and our workforce and supply of vendors should reflect that diversity," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Furthermore, it demonstrates our commitment to DBE firms seeking to do business with the CTA."

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 develop and submit a DBE goal policy annually.

?This 30 percent goal reaffirms our policy against discrimination based on race, color, national origin or sex," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. 'submitting and achieving this goal is crucial to securing the federal funding needed for the CTA's five year Capital Improvement Program."

Through its DBE Unit, the CTA also has committed to meet the following federal objectives: To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-assisted contracts;

 To create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts;

 To ensure that the CTA's DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;

 To help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT-assisted contracts; and

 To assist in the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE Program.

This past January, the CTA's DBE unit established a Business Development Program (BDP) that is gaining momentum as it helps to further develop the business skills of DBE firms seeking to do business with the CTA. Participating firms can request business development assistance in marketing, management, finance, information systems and economics. To date, 97 firms are enrolled in the program.

Currently, the CTA has certified 550 DBE firms. In 2001, DBE firms received contracts totaling more than $161.2 million.

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