Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The latest general information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is available on For USDOT specific COVID-19 resources, please visit our page.

Part 26 Subpart B -- Administrative Requirements for DBE Programs for Federally-Assisted Contracting

Sec. 26.21 Who must have a DBE program?

Question and Answer
(a) If you are in one of these categories and let DOT-assisted contracts, you must have a DBE program meeting the requirements of this part:

(1) All FHWA recipients receiving funds authorized by a statute to which this part applies;

(2) FTA recipients that receive $250,000 or more in FTA planning, capital, and/or operating assistance in a Federal fiscal year;

(3) FAA recipients that receive a grant of $250,000 or more for airport planning or development.

(b)(1) You must submit a DBE program conforming to this part by August 31, 1999 to the concerned operating administration (OA). Once the OA has approved your program, the approval counts for all of your DOT-assisted programs (except that goals are reviewed and approved by the particular operating administration that provides funding for your DOT-assisted contracts).

(2) You do not have to submit regular updates of your DBE programs, as long as you remain in compliance. However, you must submit significant changes in the program for approval.

(c) You are not eligible to receive DOT financial assistance unless DOT has approved your DBE program and you are in compliance with it and this part. You must continue to carry out your program until all funds from DOT financial assistance have been expended.

Sec. 26.23 What is the requirement for a policy statement?

You must issue a signed and dated policy statement that expresses your commitment to your DBE program, states its objectives, and outlines responsibilities for its implementation. You must circulate the statement throughout your organization and to the DBE and non-DBE business communities that perform work on your DOT-assisted contracts.

Sec. 26.25 What is the requirement for a liaison officer?

You must have a DBE liaison officer, who shall have direct, independent access to your Chief Executive Officer concerning DBE program matters. The liaison officer shall be responsible for implementing all aspects of your DBE program. You must also have adequate staff to administer the program in compliance with this part.

Sec. 26.27 What efforts must recipients make concerning DBE financial institutions?

You must thoroughly investigate the full extent of services offered by financial institutions owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in your community and make reasonable efforts to use these institutions. You must also encourage prime contractors to use such institutions.

Sec. 26.29 What prompt payment mechanisms must recipients have?

(a) You must establish, as part of your DBE program, a contract clause to require prime contractors to pay subcontractors for satisfactory performance of their contracts no later than a specific number of days from receipt of each payment you make to the prime contractor. This clause must also require the prompt return of retainage payments from the prime contractor to the subcontractor within a specific number of days after the subcontractor's work is satisfactorily completed.

(1) This clause may provide for appropriate penalties for failure to comply, the terms and conditions of which you set.

(2) This clause may also provide that any delay or postponement of payment among the parties may take place only for good cause, with your prior written approval.

(b) You may also establish, as part of your DBE program, any of the following additional mechanisms to ensure prompt payment:

(1) A contract clause that requires prime contractors to include in their subcontracts language providing that prime contractors and subcontractors will use appropriate alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve payment disputes. You may specify the nature of such mechanisms.

(2) A contract clause providing that the prime contractor will not be reimbursed for work performed by subcontractors unless and until the prime contractor ensures that the subcontractors are promptly paid for the work they have performed.

(3) Other mechanisms, consistent with this part and applicable state and local law, to ensure that DBEs and other contractors are fully and promptly paid.

Sec. 26.31 What requirements pertain to the DBE directory?

You must maintain and make available to interested persons a directory identifying all firms eligible to participate as DBEs in your program. In the listing for each firm, you must include its address, phone number, and the types of work the firm has been certified to perform as a DBE. You must revise your directory at least annually and make updated information available to contractors and the public on request.
Sec. 26.33 What steps must a recipient take to address overconcentration of DBEs in certain types of work?

(a) If you determine that DBE firms are so overconcentrated in a certain type of work as to unduly burden the opportunity of non-DBE firms to participate in this type of work, you must devise appropriate measures to address this overconcentration.

(b) These measures may include the use of incentives, technical assistance, business development programs, mentor-protege programs, and other appropriate measures designed to assist DBEs in performing work outside of the specific field in which you have determined that non- DBEs are unduly burdened. You may also consider varying your use of contract goals, to the extent consistent with Sec. 26.51, to unsure that non-DBEs are not unfairly prevented from competing for subcontracts.

(c) You must obtain the approval of the concerned DOT operating administration for your determination of overconcentration and the measures you devise to address it. Once approved, the measures become part of your DBE program.

Sec. 26.35 What role do business development and mentor-protege programs have in the DBE program?

(a) You may or, if an operating administration directs you to, you must establish a DBE business development program (BDP) to assist firms in gaining the ability to compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program. You may require a DBE firm, as a condition of receiving assistance through the BDP, to agree to terminate its participation in the DBE program after a certain time has passed or certain objectives have been reached. See Appendix C of this part for guidance on administering BDP programs.
(b) As part of a BDP or separately, you may establish a ``mentor- protege'' program, in which another DBE or non-DBE firm is the principal source of business development assistance to a DBE firm.

(1) Only firms you have certified as DBEs before they are proposed for participation in a mentor-protege program are eligible to participate in the mentor-protege program.

(2) During the course of the mentor-protege relationship, you must:

(i) Not award DBE credit to a non-DBE mentor firm for using its own protege firm for more than one half of its goal on any contract let by the recipient; and

(ii) Not award DBE credit to a non-DBE mentor firm for using its own protege firm for more than every other contract performed by the protege firm.

(3) For purposes of making determinations of business size under this part, you must not treat protege firms as affiliates of mentor firms, when both firms are participating under an approved mentor- protege program. See Appendix D of this part for guidance concerning the operation of mentor-protege programs.

(c) Your BDPs and mentor-protege programs must be approved by the concerned operating administration before you implement them. Once approved, they become part of your DBE program.

Sec. 26.37 What are a recipient's responsibilities for monitoring the performance of other program participants?

(a) You must implement appropriate mechanisms to ensure compliance with the part's requirements by all program participants (e.g., applying legal and contract remedies available under Federal, state and local law). You must set forth these mechanisms in your DBE program.
(b) Your DBE program must also include a monitoring and enforcement mechanism to verify that the work committed to DBEs at contract award is actually performed by the DBEs. This mechanism must provide for a running tally of actual DBE attainments (e.g., payments actually made to DBE firms) and include a provision ensuring that DBE participation is credited toward overall or contract goals only when payments are actually made to DBE firms.

Last updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013