DRPA's DBE Program has a New Small Business Participation Program Element

The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) opposes unlawful discrimination of any kind. The DRPA is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer/Contractor, and is firmly committed to providing equal employment and business opportunities for all persons.

The DRPA receives federal financial assistance from the Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on certain projects. As a condition of receiving this assistance, the DRPA has signed an assurance that it will comply with 49 CFR Part 26.  Accordingly, the DRPA has established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program in accordance with regulations of the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), 49 CFR Part 26. 

On January 28, 2011, 49 CFR Part 26.39, “Participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in Department of Transportation Programs,” was published, requiring recipients of federal funding to add an SBE program element to their approved DBE Programs. On February 28, 2012, pursuant to the Final Rule set forth in the Federal Register [76 FR 5083 – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise:  Program Improvement], DRPA submitted an amendment to its DBE Program, entitled SBE Participation Element to the Federal Transit Administration for review and approval. The FTA approved the DRPA’s proposed SBE Participation Element on September 17, 2012. In approving same, the FTA stated that the Authority’s SBE Participation Element meets the requirements set forth in the federal Department of Transportation’s DBE regulations.

The DRPA is ready to move forward with the implementation of the SBE program element. On a project-by-project basis, staff will continue to review the overall dollar value and scope of the project, the work typically subcontracted by a prime contractor/consultant on similar projects to determine whether a DBE goal is appropriate. 

In addition to establishing a DBE participation, where appropriate, the DRPA will also establish a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) participation goal. DRPA’s SBE Participation Element has been established to provide contracting opportunities for firms that are independently owned and operated, organized for profit, and not dominant in their field. The SBE Participation Element gives small businesses, with annual gross receipts up to $22.41 million, the opportunity to participate in DRPA’s federally-assisted contracting and procurement opportunities.
Currently, the DRPA’s Office of Business Development & Equal Opportunity does not certify firms as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).  Nor will the office certify firms as Small Business Enterprises (SBEs). However, the Authority will recognize the SBE certifications performed by  certifying entities, provided the firms meet the following criteria:
  1. Business Size Determination: The business (including its affiliates) must be a small business as defined by SBA standards.  It must not have annual gross receipts over $22.41 million in the previous three fiscal years; 
  2. Personal Net Worth: Only persons having a personal net worth (PNW) of less than $1.32 million can be considered as a potential qualified SBE.  Items excluded from a person’s net worth calculation include an individual’s ownership interest in the applicant firm, and his or her equity in their primary residence;
  3. Independence: The business must not be tied to another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control; and
  4. Control: An owner seeking certification must possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the firm.  The owner must also have an overall understanding of, and managerial and technical competence and experience directly related to, the type of business in which the firm is engaged.
  5. Burden of Proof Allocation: Applicants carry the initial burden of proof regarding their eligibility and must demonstrate that they meet all requirements concerning group membership or individual disadvantage, business size, ownership, and personal net worth.
  6. Certified DBEs: In accordance with 49 CFR §26.39, certified DBEs that meet the size  criteria   established   under   the   program   are   eligible   to   participate  in   the SBE Participation Program Element.

The federal DOT only requires DRPA to count the DBE participation when reporting progress toward meeting DBE goals. While the FTA does not require grantees to report SBE participation on federally-assisted projects, SBE participation will be tracked and monitored internally on all projects where DBE and SBE participation goals have been established.

For SBE certification resources, interested firms should contact the NJ Unified Certification Program (NJ UCP) – www.njucp.net, PA Unified Certification Program (PA UCP) – www.paucp.com, PennDOT and the NJ DOT.  In addition to the above, resources, the DRPA maintains a directory of small, disadvantaged, minority, women and veteran-owned companies.  The directory can be accessed at www.drpa.org/obdeo.

Public Notice Approved DBE Goal

Pursuant to 49 CFR Part 26, recipients of federal DOT financial assistance are required to submit to the appropriate DOT operating administration for approval of the methodology and process used to establish their overall disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) goal for federally-funded contracting opportunities.  Under the rule, which took effect on March 5, 2010, recipients are required to submit an overall DBE goals (including proposed race-conscious and race-neutral goals) for review every three years.

Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) proposed an overall DBE goal of 10% (8% race-conscious and 2% race-neutral).  The proposed goal was advertised in area newspapers and on our website.  Public comment meetings were held.  In August 2013, the FTA advised that it concurs that the Authority’s DBE goal methodology meets the requirements set out in the DOT’s DBE regulations.  Our DBE goal methodology for FY  2014, 2015, and 2016 will expire on September 30, 2016.

DRPA’s next updated DBE goal methodology for FYs 2017-2019 must be submitted to the FTA by August 1, 2016.