The Oklahoma Eagle Newswire
Officials from the Federal Highway Administration in Washington D.C. were called to Oklahoma by Rep. Regina Goodwin and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) owners. Federal officials will be in Oklahoma on Dec. 4th thru the 8th to conduct a compliance review of the Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation (ODOT). The largest highway project awarded in Oklahoma history, approximately $92 million, is the Choctaw/ I-40 / Project 100. ODOT receiving federal money are mandated to follow federal guidelines.
Serving as an Appropriations and Budget Transportation Committee member, Rep. Goodwin stated, “Highly questionable are some past and present ODOT practices related to Good Faith Efforts and DBE participation goals, such processes cut down or cut out opportunity and jobs for qualified business owners. Regarding Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, it has been admitted and publicly recorded that ODOT officials are not engaging in good faith efforts as mandated by Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations.” Rep. Goodwin successfully fought to help restore approximately $2 million dollars to $9 million dollars total/ 9 percent DBE participation goal and is concerned about seemingly unfair influence some prime contractors have on DBE participation goals. On-going communication with ODOT officials to address concerns and make forward progress is greatly appreciated, stated Rep. Goodwin.
The Dept. of Transportation states it encourages prime contractors to exceed DBE participation goals. According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) is “for -profit small business concerns where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily operations.” African American, Hispanic, Asian /Pacific Islander, Native American and Female DBE owners are within the scope these federal guidelines.