Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Outreach

Business Outreach Committee
WETA is a member of the Business Outreach Committee (BOC). The BOC is a consortium of Bay Area transit agencies that assists small disadvantaged and local firms in doing business with Bay Area transportation agencies. It publishes a newsletter and holds frequent networking events and buyers forums.

Upcoming Contracting Opportunities
WETA's upcoming contracting opportunities are listed in the Business Outreach Committee's Quarterly newsletter.

Upcoming Events
Breaking Barriers in the Marine Industry Workshop - Wednesday, February 15, 2023 | 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (PST)

SF Bay Ferry, Golden Gate, and numerous other ferry operators across the Country have struggled for years to achieve their DBE and SBE participation goals. Based on feedback from shipyards and marine construction firms that have experience as primes on marine contracts, there are many barriers that DBE and potential DBE firms have faced when seeking prime and sub-contractor work, as well barriers for prime contractors when attempting to get DBE subcontractor participation on their contracts.

These barriers include specialized certifications and experience in commonly subcontracted marine construction work, such as industrial painting, electrical installation and engineering, HVAC, and other types of services many DBEs either do not possess, or face challenges obtaining. DBEs also face insurance and bonding challenges, as many shipyards and marine construction projects require contractors and labor to have specific types of insurance and bonding to perform the work. Without the knowledge of how to obtain the certifications and insurance, and with many DBE firms not having the financial resources to afford them, these challenges cause the number of DBE firms able to perform marine construction work to be quite limited.

The Breaking Barriers in the Marine Industry Workshop will explore these challenges and the costs associated with certifications, insurance and bonding, and dive deep into how DBE firms and firms seeking to become a DBE and perform work in marine construction can overcome these challenges. In this workshop, we will hear from the biggest shipyards and marine construction firms on the steps DBEs and potential DBEs can take to secure work as prime and subcontractors in marine construction; insurance and bonding agents are participating in this workshop to provide necessary knowledge for the type of insurance a firm will need to work in a shipyard and how to obtain it; a representative from the Federal Transit Administration will provide an overview of and tips for the DBE program itself; and a legal representative who works closely with maritime operators will explain the Buy America Act and be available for questions.

There will be a Q&A with the panelists discussing all topics and how the processes for DBE firm participation can be improved. This is the first workshop of its kind, and your participation is greatly appreciated. For questions, contact Terence Candell | candell@watertransit.org

DBE and SBE Information

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program
WETA is a recipient of federal financial assistance from the Federal Transit Administration ("FTA") and the Federal Highway Administration ("FHWA") of the U.S. DOT and is required to implement a DBE Program in accordance with 49 CFR Part 26.

The purpose of WETA's DBE Program is to ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of federally funded contracts and to create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for federally funded contracts.

A DBE is a certified, for-profit small business concern (1) that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged, or, in the case of a corporation, where 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals; and (2) whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.

For more information on WETA’s DBE Program/Diversity Program for Contracts see the following:

FFY 23-25 DBE Goal

WETA has developed a 0.48% DBE goal with a 100% race neutral and 0% race conscious split, applicable to $79,936,315 of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) dollars that are budgeted for 27 projects with contracts anticipated to be awarded from October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2025. WETA's DBE goal was approved by the FTA on November 17, 2022. For more information on the development of this goal read the FFY23-25 DBE Goal Analysis Report (PDF).

Small Business Enterprise Element (SBE)
WETA has established a Small Business Enterprise element (SBE Program) as one of its race-neutral methods of achieving small business participation, including disadvantaged business participation, on particular contracts with subcontracting opportunities. This SBE element applies to all federally funded WETA contracts where race-neutral and gender-neutral methods are employed. WETA will take all reasonable steps to eliminate obstacles for SBEs to participate as prime contractors or subcontractors in the WETA's procurement activities. DBEs are by definition considered to be SBEs and are covered in all references to SBEs.

FFY23-25 SBE Goal
WETA's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program requires the establishment of an overall Small Business Enterprise (SBE) goal for each triennial DBE goal period using the same methodology as the DBE overall goal. WETA has developed a 7.5% SBE goal applicable to $79,936,315 of FTA dollars that are budgeted for 27 projects with contracts anticipated to be awarded from October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2025. For further information read the FFY23-25 SBE Goal Analysis Report (PDF)

How to Find DBEs?
WETA only accepts DBE firms certified through the California Unified Certification Program (CUCP). DBEs must be certified with the CUCP upon contract award. The CUCP DBE database contains up-to-date information on certified DBE firms and can be used to find certified DBE firms for solicitation to meet DBE goal and contracting requirements. This database is intended to expand the use of DBE firms by maintaining complete and current information on those businesses and the products and services they can provide. The entire database can be downloaded or exported. To find a certified DBE firm, visit https://caltrans.dbesystem.com/.

How to Become a DBE?
The CUCP is charged with overseeing DBE certification activities performed by the various certifying agencies. CUCP certifying agencies are responsible for certifying DBE firms. It is not necessary to apply for DBE certification at more than one agency. Please note: The Water Emergency Transportation Authority is not a certifying agency.

The application to become a newly certified DBE can take up to 90 days. For more information on becoming a DBE and to download the application, please visit https://dot.ca.gov/programs/civil-rights/dbe-certification-information.

Current DBE firms that are located outside of California must go through an interstate certification process with the CUCP. There is an expedited application for interstate DBE certification, however, this process can still take 30-60 days. Firms may request a copy of the out of state declaration by writing to DBE.Certification@dot.ca.gov.

California Unified Certification Program (CUCP)
The CUCP provides "one-stop shopping" certification services to small, minority and women business seeking to participate in the U.S. Department of Transportation DBE Program. Visit https://caltrans.dbesystem.com/.

2022 Electric Vessel Construction Project and Associated DBE Project Goal

On October 13, WETA hosted a webinar along with Golden Gate Bridge and Highway Transportation District, providing an overview of both WETA’s and Golden Gate Ferry’s upcoming vessel construction projects and technical specifications, include an opportunity for participants to ask questions, and to disseminate information on interested primes and subcontractors. The webinar provided participants with an opportunity to comment on the project's proposed Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) goal, as required by FTA regulations.

For more information on our Vessel Construction Project goal, click here. 


Contact Us

DBE Administrator
Lauren Gularte
gularte@watertransit.org
415-364-3188