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Wealth Creation

Wealth creation green iconWealth Creation

Wealth Creation is one of the five pillars in the 2023 update of the DOT Equity Action Plan. Read more about the pillar, metrics for measuring progress toward it, and highlighted actions below.


Upgrade skills, grow entrepreneurs, increase incomes, expand net asset ownership, and foster social well-being for underserved communities through direct procurement, infrastructure projects, community wealth building, and industry at large.

Image of Secretary Pete smiling while riding public transit.Metrics

  • Reduce the number of direct displacements resulting from federal-aid highway projects.
  • Increase the number of entities using local and economic hiring preferences on highway and transit projects.
  • Increase DOT direct contract dollars to small disadvantaged businesses from 18.2% in FY 2021 to 22% by FY 2026.

Barriers to Equity


  • Government programs designed to benefit the general public, including the federal-aid highway program administered by FHWA, often result in acquisition of private property and sometimes in the displacement of people, schools, businesses, community resources, houses of worship, or farms. Even though the general public may see benefits from these programs, these displacements may undercut efforts to build community wealth and ensure communities directly benefit from investments.

Underrepresentation in Transportation Workforce 

  • Barriers for underrepresented populations in the infrastructure workforce, such as women and individuals with disabilities, vary by the specific subpopulation and the type of occupation. For example, in construction, barriers include a lack of transportation access to get to training and jobs, childcare, and cash assistance for emergency expenses. Another major barrier is harassment, hazing, and bullying on job sites. [i]

Uneven Resource Distribution 

  • Lack of access to capital sources means Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses have less growth capital. These businesses are half as likely as non-minority counterparts to be fully approved for loans, lines of credit, and cash advances.  [ii]

  • Minority-owned businesses and small disadvantaged businesses often have inadequate bonding capacity and access to surety expertise. This makes it difficult to compete and perform in government contracts, which limits award opportunities for many small, disadvantaged businesses.  [iii]

Image of Secretary Pete talking to workers with hard hats and high-vis vests on.

Evidence Base to Support Strategy [iv]

  • In the top four industries receiving direct contracts from DOT, the following small and disadvantaged business enterprises were underrepresented in terms of total FY 2022 DOT direct contract dollars: 
    • Black-owned businesses: 2.04%
    • Hispanic-owned businesses: 3.26%
    • Women-owned businesses: 7.93%Image of four different icons showing engineering services, highway street, and bridge construction, computer system design services, and other computer related services.
  • Women and Black workers are significantly underrepresented in the construction workforce, a key job growth area from infrastructure investments. In 2020, women held about 1 in 10 construction jobs while non-Hispanic Blacks held 5.1 percent of construction jobs, compared with their 11.8-percent share of total employment. [v]


Actions Timeline
Promote environmental justice “do no harm” policy and capacity building framework through DOT funding programs and technical assistance.

December 2023

Promote best practices, case studies, and other resources to diversify the transportation sector construction workforce.

December 2023

Strengthen partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and MSIs through the Pathways to Entrepreneurship and Women in Transportation Internship to prepare for specific industries such as trucking.

September 2024
Finalize and implement the DBE/ACDBE final rule and support funding recipients with implementation through strategic communications and targeted technical assistance support. Ongoing
Expand DOT’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) programming and resources focused on federally assisted contracts, including a focus on access to capital and development of internal and external tools.

September 2025

Read the Wealth Creation Handout.

Have an idea to help advance transportation equity? Want to partner on one of these actions? Email us at to share your thoughts.

[i] Butrica, Barbara A, et al. Women in Apprenticeships and Nontraditional Occupations in the United States. Urban Institute, 2023. Note: the cited research was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.DOT is conducting a fuller assessment of barriers to jobs in the construction industry as required by Section 25019 of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

[ii] “Small Business Credit Survey 2021| Report on Firms Owned by People of Color.” Federal Reserve, 2021.

[iii] McCloud, Edith. Improving Minority Businesses’ Access to Capital Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). 2021.

[iv] Data Bank Contract Data Reports | SAM.Gov

[v] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Construction Industry: Characteristics of the Employed, 2003–20. April 2022.

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