Commonly Asked Questions
1. What is the mission of the Economic Opportunity Division?
The Economic Opportunity (EO) Division ensures that DMWBEs have equitable opportunities to compete for DART procurements, by setting DMWBE subcontracting goals on contracts, and helping make DMWBEs aware of the procedures for competing for DART procurements.
2. Under what guidelines does the DMWBE Program operate?
The DMWBE Program has been developed in accordance with DART Board Policy and applicable federal and state regulations. As a grant recipient of federal funds, DART's DBE Program fully complies with United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.
3. What is the difference between a Minority Business Enterprise, a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise and a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise?
A Minority or Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) is a for-profit, small business concern, that has either been certified by the North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency (NCTRCA), or whose certification by another certification agency is recognized by the NCTRCA. Additionally, the firm must be at least 51% owned, controlled and directed by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged, or in the case of a corporation, 51% of the stock must be owned by one or more such individuals, and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged owners.
A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) is a for-profit, small businesses concern that meets all of the above-mentioned criteria, and whose owner's or owners' individual net worth is not more than $750,000, and whose average gross receipts have not exceeded $16.6 million for the past three fiscal years.
4. Why does DART have both DBE and MWBE goals?
DART receives federal as well as local funding, therefore it is necessary to have both DBE goals (federally funded projects) and MWBE goals (locally funded projects), since a MWBE would not necessarily be qualified to compete as a DBE (see definitions above).
5. What is the NCTRCA?
The NCTRCA (North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency) is the agency DART utilizes to provide certification and other related services for prospective DMWBEs. It was formally incorporated in 1992 to provide more efficient regional DMWBE certification. Currently serving 17 member entities, DART is one of the original members of the NCTRCA. All DMWBE certifications are conducted for DART by the NCTRCA.
6. How are goals set on individual contracts?
The Economic Opportunity Division establishes contract-specific goals based, to a great extent, on the availability of the DMWBEs listed in DART's Vendor database that can perform the different types of work (NAICS codes) listed on the Statement of Work. The Economic Opportunity also considers any specific areas that may be highly specialized or sole source materials that may not be conducive to subcontracting. This process, ensures that contract-specific goals are realistic and attainable. It should also be noted that a contract goal is not mandatory. A contractor may submit its "Good Faith Efforts" for a determination by the Contracting Officer if it cannot meet the stated goal.
7. When is a bidder required to make "good faith efforts?"
A bidder is required to make "good faith efforts" when the firm determines that it can't meet the stated DMWBE goal. The types of actions considered as part of a bidder's "good faith efforts" include, but are not limited to the following:
- Adequate solicitation of minority subcontractors through all reasonable and available means, with sufficient time for subcontractors to respond
- Selecting portions of the work to be performed in order to increase the likelihood that the goals will be achieved
- Providing interested potential subcontractors with adequate information about the plans, specifications and requirements of the contract in a timely manner
- Not rejecting potential subcontractors as unqualified without sound reasons based on a thorough investigation of their capabilities
The NCTRCA performs certification services for interested firms. To be certified, the firm seeking certification has the burden of demonstrating, by a preponderance of evidence, that it meets the requirements of the standards concerning group membership or individual disadvantage, business size, as well as ownership and control of the applicable business.
9. Who may be classified as a socially and economically disadvantaged individual?
Any individual who is a citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States, and who is:
- A Woman
- Black American
- Hispanic American
- Native American
- Asian-Pacific American
- Subcontinent Asian American
Absolutely not. No contractor is prohibited from bidding on a DART contract.
However, it is DART policy to ensure that DMWBEs have the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in its procurement activities.
11. What is the Texas Unified Certification Program (TUCP)?
In 1999, the Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated that each state implement “one stop shopping,” a certification process for DBEs that would eliminate the requirement of having to acquire certifications from multiple jurisdictions if a company wanted to compete for business with more than one entity that received DOT funding in their home state. Six certifying agencies within Texas, each with regional responsibilities, have agreed to perform certifications within Texas. On October 1, 2002, the TUCP will officially begin in Texas. All DBEs will be listed on a state-wide DBE Directory, published by TX DOT (internet) and updated monthly. Any contractor will be able to access the listing, which will include the name of the DBE, contact numbers, NAICS Codes and the regions of the state in which the company is willing to work.