A recent editorial in Engineers News-Record commented on the continued problems with the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise regulations. Youcan read the editorial here.

As the author noted, the recent passage of the long overdue $104.4 billion highway in transit authorization bill may bring to light the numerous difficulties with the DBE program as prime contractors continue to struggle with compliance.

For example, what is a “commercially useful function” and how much oversight can a prime contractor have over the DBE subcontractor without running afoul of the DOT? The marketplace and courtrooms are filled with situations alleging that a prime contractor is illegally controlling or manipulating the DBE subcontractor.

What we need is a clarification of the regulations so that prime contractors can better fulfill the laudable goal of the DBE regulations without fear of prosecution for honest efforts to help the DBE complete their portion of the project.