Updated DBE & ACDBE Program Guidance During COVID-19

The US Department of Transportation released guidance documents addressing DBE and ACDBE program requirements during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on March 24, 2020 and April 1, 2020. This guidance was updated on November 25, 2020. The program requirements are now extended until June 30, 2021.

Overall DBE Goal Methodology Public Participation – Agencies are required to include public participation during the overall DBE goal setting process.  The DOT has required that consultative meetings with the public shall be held via video conferencing (Zoom, Teams, etc.) or email and phone calls. 

Commercially Useful Function Reviews – These reviews are required on DOT-funded projects and are conducted to verify that DBE firms are responsible for execution of the work of the contract and is carrying out its responsibilities by actually performing, managing, and supervising the work involved. CUF reviews may continue under the following conditions:

  • Visiting worksites and taking photos to confirm DBEs are performing CUF as long as social distancing is kept and visit does not violate local or state COVID policy
  • Asking DBEs and Primes to submit electronic records, such as payroll, invoices, emails, photos, etc. demonstrating that DBEs are carrying out CUF.
  • Interview DBEs via video conferencing (Zoom, Teams, etc.) and taking virtual tours of jobsite.
  • If technology is not accessible, have DBE submit photos.

Reconsideration Meeting for Good Faith Efforts (GFE) non-responsiveness – When a prime’s good faith efforts have been deemed non-responsive, a prime contractor is provided an opportunity to participate in a reconsideration meeting to demonstrate that it has in fact met the GFE requirements. Reconsideration meetings must be held via video conferencing and supporting documents should be submitted electronically.

Termination and Substitutions – Prime contractors and subcontractors with lower tier subcontractors are not allowed to terminate a DBE firm without good cause and must provide notice to the DBE firm and receive consent from agency before a termination may occur. The prime must also exercise GFE to find another DBE to substitute the terminated DBE.  There is no substantive change to these requirements.  All correspondence should be sent electronically. Primes shall not terminate DBEs for purpose of cost savings to Prime.

Electronic Submission & Review of Certification Documents – These items apply to certifying agencies only.  Certification dues dates are extended. Documents should be sent electronically if no system is used. Documents requiring notary can now include affidavit, sworn statement, or electronic notarization if any of these are allowed by state. 

DBE Program Compliance Support During COVID-19 Pandemic – Should you have questions about DBE Program compliance, contact your USDOT Operating Administration representative, or contact the USDOT Civil Rights team at https://www.transportation.gov/civil-rights

If you have other questions or if you need support with your DBE Program, please contact GCAP at info@gcapservices.com