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On July 21, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a proposed rule to update its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, which assists small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in competing for DOT contracts. The stated purpose of the proposed rule is to modernize and strengthen the DBE program to ensure qualifying businesses are able to compete for the increased federal transportation funding provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Proposed changes to the program include:

  • Increasing the personal net worth limit from $1.32 million to $1.6 million and excluding retirement assets from PNW calculations

  • Amending ownership and control certification eligibility requirements 

  • Simplifying the interstate certification process 

  • Formally adopting COVID-19 flexibilities such as virtual on-site visits 

Comments on the proposed rule are due by Sept. 19 and can be submitted via