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Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

PennDOT has established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program in accordance with the regulations of the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 49 CFR Part 26 (Part 26). The department receives federal financial assistance from DOT, and as a condition of receiving this assistance, the department has signed an assurance that it will comply with Part 26. The department's DBE Policy (PDF) outlines its goals and mission for the program.

The department has also established a comprehensive and effective Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services (DBE/SS) Program. The DBE/SS, through the DBE Support Services Center, is intended to provide training, assistance, and services to DBE firms certified in the DBE program to facilitate their development into viable self-sufficient organizations capable of competing for, and performing on federally-assisted highway projects. The DBE/SS program will be designed to contribute to the growth and eventual self-sufficiency of certified DBE firms by providing assistance in the acquisition of skills and the identification of resources so that the firms can ultimately compete on an equal basis for contracts and subcontracts without the assistance of the DBE program.

The department is also required to develop a triennial DBE participation Methodology and Goal for federal-aid highway contracts using funds disbursed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The federal regulatory mandate is set forth in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 26 (Part 26). Under Part 26, goals must be established and submitted to the FHWA as well as to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Transit Administration on a triennial basis. Links to the department goals and methodologies are provided below for interested stakeholders to review and provide comments.

​The DBE Program Plan (PDF) has been designed and implemented by the Department to satisfy the DBE regulations codified at 49 CFR Part 26, as amended. The program also complies with 49 CFR Part 23, as amended, where applicable. The Plan includes all policies, processes and procedures related to the Department’s DBE Program. The Plan also identifies roles and responsibilities for internal Department personnel and sub-recipients including contractors, consultants, airports, transit providers, and planning partners.

Good Faith Efforts (GFE)

In accordance with the federal DBE regulation set forth in 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 26 (Part 26), PennDOT is required to establish procedures addressing good faith efforts in those instances where Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contract goals have been imposed. Section 26.53 of Part 26 requires that contracts carrying a DBE goal requirement be awarded to a bidder who makes a good faith effort to meet the contract goal. Section 26.53(a) states that a good faith effort is established either by documentation that a bidder has obtained sufficient DBE participation to meet the prescribed contract goal or by documentation that the bidder made an adequate good faith effort to meet the goal even though it did not succeed.

The Good Faith Effort contractual obligation exists for the life of a contract/project, not just at the time of award. There must be written documentation. Each case turns on its own merits. A one-size-fits-all checklist is neither desirable nor possible. What constitutes a showing of adequate good faith efforts in a particular procurement is fact-specific. Circumstances of procurements vary greatly. The intensity of the efforts must be examined. Continuous monitoring is important.

Good Faith Efforts should be those that one could reasonably expect a bidder to take if the bidder were actively and aggressively trying to meet the goal. DBE commitment is an overall measure of the effectiveness of all the efforts to get DBEs. The greater the difference between goal and commitment, the greater that amount of GFEs are expected. If DBE is allegedly unqualified, it must be for a sufficient reason, such as lack of license, or poor work quality that has been documented. Cannot reject a DBE bid solely because of a price as long as the price is reasonable.

For more detailed information regarding GFE requirements refer to the regulatory text, Appendix A To Part 26 — Guidance Concerning Good Faith Efforts.

    • Monthly DBE/SBE Status Report (EO-402) (PDF)
    • Monthly DBE/SBE Status Report For Local Projects (EO-402LP) (XLS)

For more information about the DBE Program, contact the DBE Supportive Services Center at ProRank Business Solutions, LLC by phone at 833.PENN.DBE (833.736.6323) or by email at or PennDOT's Bureau of Equal Opportunity by phone 717.787.5891 or email at