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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Disadvantaged - Business Enterprise (DBE) program regulations; originally established in 1980 with women added in 1987, requires that local and state transportation agencies that receive DOT financial assistance establish DBE participation goals for DOT-assisted projects.

A DBE firm is a small business with at least 51% interest owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically – disadvantaged individuals. As defined by the federal DBE program, members of the following groups are presumed to be socially – disadvantaged: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, and women. To be regarded as economically – disadvantaged, an individual must have a personal net worth that does not exceed $1.32 million. DBE certification determinations are issued by relevant state agencies through the State Uniform Certification Program (UCP) and are based upon personal interviews, on-site visits, review of licenses, equipment, stock ownership, bonding capacity, resume of principal owners, work completed, business size and financial capacity. For more information about the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) DBE certification process, visit their website at:

The MDOT MTA is committed to delivering a DBE program for the Purple Line project that empowers and supports DBE firms. MDOT certified DBE firms will be employed to perform meaningful services in the design and construction phases along the project alignment. The MDOT MTA DBE program aims to:

  • Increase the participation of minority and women-owned businesses on the Purple Line project;
  • Develop DBE communication and outreach programs that will acquaint DBE firms with Purple Line activities and subcontracting opportunities;
  • Ensure that only eligible firms participate as DBEs;
  • Support the Design-Builder’s efforts to help DBEs succeed and grow;
  • Encourage eligible small, disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses to become MDOT certified DBEs, further expanding the pool of potential DBE firms for upcoming Purple Line subcontracting opportunities and teaming efforts; and
  • Respond to DBE-identified and DBE-related concerns, needs, and inquiries.

This will be accomplished by working with the Design-Builder to establish successful relationships with certified DBE firms and small and minority business advocacy groups in the project area.

The DBE participation goals for the Design-Build period of the Purple Line project are as follows:

  • 26% for Design Services; and
  • 22% for Construction Services.

These goals will be achieved in these main areas:

  • DBE and public awareness and engagement by communicating and sharing information pertaining to subcontracting opportunities on the project;
  • DBE firm capture and database management;
  • Capacity building for DBE firms to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace;
  • DBE educational offerings, technical assistance referrals, and pre-bid and post-bid information meetings; and
  • Documenting our progress through DBE participation tracking and reporting progress towards meeting the goals.

Major non-DBE subcontractors and vendors will be required to make good-faith efforts toward meeting the DBE goals on the project for the term of the contract. The Design-Builder administers the DBE program for the Purple Line project. Their DBE contract commitments, goal attainment, and contracting activities, however, are closely coordinated with, directed and monitored by the MDOT MTA DBE/Civil Rights Team in the Purple Line project management office.

Contact Us

Marcques Washington

Marcques Washington
DBE/MBE Civil Rights Compliance Director
Office: 240.695.9229

Lenton Wallace, DBE/Civil Rights Program Manager

Lenton Wallace
DBE/Civil Rights Program Manager
Office: 240.695.9201

Sheritha Semakula DBE Program Administrator

Sheritha Semakula
DBE Program Administrator
Office: 240.695.9199