The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced new resources from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will create economic opportunities and open the door to building generational wealth for disadvantaged entrepreneurs and workers in communities across the country.
New guidance to support State investment in workforce development, training and education in order to meet the demand generated by President Biden’s investment in rebuilding infrastructure, and $10 million to support small businesses owned by minorities, women, and other socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, through FHWA’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Funding.
“It’s critical that the historic infrastructure investments we are making reach the places and people who need them the most,” said US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The resources announced today help ensure that a fair share of the contracts and investments go to historically disadvantaged workers, businesses, and communities so they can build generational wealth.”
“To realize the potential of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package we must both provide disadvantaged businesses a chance to grow and train a workforce that meets tomorrow’s challenges,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “The historic funding being provided for workforce development, training and education activities, coupled with the guidance we’re announcing today, will help provide economic opportunities to millions of talented people who will help deliver bridge, road and highway projects that will make travel safer and more efficient for communities across this country in the generation to come.”
Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, workforce development-related activities are funded at 100% federal share, and FHWA’s new guidance provides clarity about which Federal-aid formula funds can be used by State DOTs and U.S. territories to support workforce development including training, education, and registered apprenticeship.
Additionally, the President’s infrastructure package also expands the types of activities eligible to be paid for using formula funding to include programs that provide recruiting, counseling, transportation, remedial training, and childcare services; education-related activities such as commercial driver license training, work-study and scholarship programs; and internships and skills development training programs.
DBE Supportive Services (DBE/SS) Funding Allocation
FHWA also announced the allocation of $10 million in Fiscal Year 2022 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Supportive Services (DBE/SS) program funding to 47 State DOTs, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In total, the infrastructure law provides $50 million in funding for the DBE/SS program through 2026. The funding allows participating states to provide training and business development services to eligible small businesses to improve their ability to compete as prime and subcontractors on federally assisted contracts.
FHWA distributes DBE/SS funds each year based on statements of work submitted by State DOTs, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories, and using an administrative formula to determine funding for each recipient. This year, FHWA received submissions from a total of 47 States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Six states and territories declined funding, which was redistributed among the remaining recipients using the same administrative formula.
These actions support goals outlined in US DOT’s Equity Action Plan.