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MnDOT issues report on construction contracts

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms accounted for 9.8 percent, or $76 million, of the federal dollars awarded to state road construction contracts for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, according to a report the Minnesota Department of Transportation sent to the U.S. DOT Dec. 1.

The DBE program focuses on increasing the participation of women- and minority-owned small businesses in U.S. DOT-funded contracts.

The 9.8 percent, representing 353 DBE prime and subcontracts, fell short of the annual goal of 10.3 percent, said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle.

“There’s much more work to be done to achieve our DBE annual goal,” Zelle said. “We are committed to improving the numbers of contracts and awards to minority firms and will continue to work in this area.”

MnDOT set the 10.3 percent annual goal for 2013-15 based on analysis of DBEs ready, willing and able to perform road construction work. The annual report shows that awards to minority-owned firms increased in the second half of the year. However, overall their participation is low.

MnDOT’s Office of Civil Rights, which monitors and reports on DBE performance, is working with MnDOT construction offices and community partners to both increase the pool of DBEs in the state and increase the participation of certified DBEs.

“We are exploring various initiatives to increase the percentage of minority-owned contractors and subcontractors on MnDOT projects, and we welcome any certified DBE companies that are not currently engaged in our work,” Zelle said.

Federal regulations require MnDOT to report to the Federal Highway Administration every six months (Oct. 1-March 31; April 1-Sept. 30) on the number and total dollar amount of contracts awarded to DBE firms.

Go to www.mndot.gov/civilrights/dbe-report.html to view the report.