DBE Program Regulations: Waivers or Exemptions

DOT has released Official FAQs on DBE Program Regulations. These questions and answers provide guidance and information for compliance with the provisions under 49 CFR part 26. Like all guidance material, these questions and answers are not, in themselves, legally binding or mandatory, and do not constitute regulations.

Can a recipient ask for a program waiver in conjunction with its revised DBE program? Section 26.21 – 26.15

  • If, in revising its DBE program, a recipient decides it wants to pursue an alternative to a requirement of Subparts B or C, then it must apply for a waiver. Subparts B and C concern such subjects as goals, good faith efforts, and program administration.
  • The waiver request would apply to the features of the program that differed from Subpart B or C requirements.
  • For example, suppose a mass transit recipient submitted a program that conformed to Subpart B and C for the most part, but proposed to use price credits rather than contract goals as a race-conscious measure. With respect to this issue the recipient would have to meet the procedural requirements of 26.15(b). In this example, FTA would review the recipient’s program in the normal way, except that the portion requiring the waiver request would be forwarded to the Secretary for decision.
  • In case the program as a whole has been approved, but a decision has not been made on the accompanying waiver request, the recipient would comply with all provisions of Subparts B and C pending the Secretary’s decision on the waiver.