USDOT announces US$10m funding for small, disadvantaged businesses


Small transportation businesses owned by minorities and women are to gain $10m in extra funding, the USDOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced.

The new boost comes from the Fiscal Year 2021 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Supportive Services (DBE/SS) program to help eligible small businesses compete for federal highway contracts in 45 states, as well as Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

“With these funds, state transportation departments will help minority- and women-owned businesses across the country create jobs and better compete for resources for transportation projects nationwide,” says deputy federal highway administrator Stephanie Pollack.

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues funding for the DBE/SS program for Fiscal Years 2022 through 2026. The funding is provided to state DOTs, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Territories for the purpose of administering programs that provide training and assistance to eligible DBEs to improve their ability to compete on federally assisted contracts.

A DBE is a for-profit, small business owned and controlled by minorities, women or other socially and economically disadvantaged individuals or, in the case of a corporation, one in which 51% of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals. More information about DBE eligibility can be found at

The FHWA distributes DBE/SS funds each year based on statements of work submitted by State DOTs, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Territories, and using an administrative formula to determine funding for each recipient. This year, FHWA received 48 submissions from 45 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. Eight states and territories declined funding, which was redistributed among the remaining recipients using the same administrative formula.

The FHWA has promoted the participation of DBEs in federal-aid highway contracts through state-managed programs since 1982. The funding announced today is the latest in an ongoing effort to help state departments of transportation train certified DBE firms on a wide array of business management practices and improve their ability to compete for federally assisted contracts as prime and subcontractors.

Images: AdobeStock

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).