Federal Transit Administration - Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

The U.S Department of Transportation requires recipients of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding to develop and implement a Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) program to ensure nondiscrimination in the award of FTA-assisted projects. The City of Seattle, a recipient of FTA funds through the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Center, developed a DBE methodology and goal for the Federal Fiscal Year 2017 to 2019 (Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2019). View the full methodology and goal calculations: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Methodology 2017-2019.

DBE program objectives:

  • Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of federally funded contracts.
  • Create a level playing field where DBEs can compete fairly for federally funded contracts.
  • Help remove barriers to DBE participation in the bidding, award and administration of City of Seattle contracts.
  • Assist in the development of DBEs so they can compete successfully in the market outside of the DBE program.
  • Ensure that only firms that fully meet the eligibility standards of 49 CFR Part 26 are permitted to participate as DBEs.
  • Ensure that the DBE program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law.
  • Identify qualified DBEs that can provide City of Seattle with required materials, equipment, supplies and services, and develop good rapport with the owners and managers of said companies.
  • Develop programs that will introduce prospective DBEs to the City's contract procedures, activities and requirements.
  • Encourage DBEs to provide the City with feedback on existing barriers and how to eliminate those barriers.
  • Administer the DBE program in close coordination with other City departments to ensure its success.

What is a DBE?

A DBE is a for-profit small business that is at least 51 percent owned by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. For details on additional criteria based on personal net worth and business size standards, please visit https://www.civilrights.dot.gov/disadvantaged-business-enterprise/do-you-qualify-dbe.

How does my business become a DBE?

In Washington state, you must be certified through the Washington State Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises. Please visit OMWBE's website for additional information.   

2017-2019 DBE goal for FTA-funded projects

The City of Seattle will use an overall DBE goal for the three Federal Fiscal Year period 2017-2019 of 13.9 percent.

Small business

The City of Seattle FTA/DBE program also supports local small businesses by breaking large projects into smaller subparts for which small businesses and DBEs will be more likely to compete; encouraging prime contractors to subcontract portions of the work that they might otherwise perform themselves; and connecting them with certification resources and prime contractors in the region.

Contact information

Miguel Beltran, Contract Compliance Manager
(206) 684-4525 or miguel.beltran@seattle.gov