The Office of Business Development (OBD) is responsible for administering the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's (RTA) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. The program is designed to help ensure DBE firms have a level playing field and equal opportunity to receive and participate in RTA's contract opportunities.
In accordance with Code of Federal Regulations Section 49 CFR Part 26, OBD works to promote, and encourage the inclusion of small, women and businesses in RTA procurements, as its principal mission is to engage, support, and assist the local small and disadvantaged business community, and help ensure fair and representative participation of DBEs in procurement opportunities at RTA and within the community at-large.
Every three years, RTA is required by federal regulations to calculate an annual three-year overall DBE participation goal. The current goal is 21.3% on all federally assisted contracts of $25,000 or more. This goal is effective through September 31, 2018.
Before seeking bids on individual contracts of $25,000 or more, OBD determines what DBE participation goal, if any, should be established on the contract.
Unified Certificaton Program
For a list of all certified DBe firms in Ohio, click here.
Contractor/Bidders who need assistance in identifying certified DBE firms to participate on contracts should contact OBD at 216-566-5002.
Under federal regulation 49 CFR Part 26, the following groups are presumed socially and economically disadvantaged. A company that among other things is (individually or in any combination) 51 percent or more owned by persons from such groups may be eligible for certification as a Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE).
- Black Americans
- Hispanic Americans
- Native Americans
- Asian-Pacific Americans
- Subcontinent Asian-Pacific Americans
Persons who are not members of one of the above groups and own and control their business may also be eligible, provided they can establish their "social" and "economic" disadvantage. A determination of whether an individual meets DBE eligibility criteria is made on a case-by-case basis Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 26.
Burden of Proof - Applicants carry the responsibility to prove their eligibility, and must demonstrate that they meet all requirements concerning group membership or individual disadvantage, business size, ownership and control.
Business Size – An applicant company (including its affiliates) must demonstrate it is a “small business,” as defined by Small Business Administration standards. In general, companies cannot have annual gross receipts of more than $23.98 million in the previous three fiscal years (or $56.42 million for airport concessionaires, with some exceptions).
Personal Net Worth - The personal net worth of an applicant company’s owner(s) cannot exceed $1.32 million. A person’s ownership interest in the applicant company and equity interest in their primary residence are excluded from the net worth calculation.
Control - A disadvantaged owner seeking certification must possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the firm. The owner must also demonstrate an overall understanding, and managerial and technical competence and experience, directly related to the type of business in which the firm is engaged.
Independence - The business must not be tied to another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control.
Specific RTA responsibilities:
RTA's Office of Business Development is responsible for these specific areas. Each area affects your work as a DBE.
Overall DBE participation calculation
- In establishing the overall DBE participation goal, staff seeks input from communmity organizations and other interested parties that can be expected to have informaiton and data concerning the avalibility of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged businesses.
- The overall DBE participation goal is calculated using a methodology approved by the FTA that considers the availability of ready, willing and able DBE firms to perform the work required on contracts RTA is expected to award during the three-year period, as compared to the overall availability of firms to perform such work.
- The goal is submitted to RTA Board of trustees for consideration and approval. Once approved by the Board, the general public is informed of the proposed goal through a notice published in a newspaper of general circulation
- The proposed goal and its rationale are available for pubic inspection and comment at RTA during normal business hours for a period of 30 days after the notice appears.
Contract-specific DBE participation determination
OBD reviews the contract specification to determine whether subcontracting opportunities exists, and whether there are certified DBE firms that potentially could perform any portion of the contract work.
- In part, the determination is based upon there being ready, willing, and available certified DBE firms in the identified subcontracting categories. Where there are subcontracting opportunities and certified DBE firms are found to exist, OBD establishes a DBE participation goal for the contract.
- Bidders are required to make best efforts to achieve the DBE participation goal established for a contract through the utilization of one or more “certified” DBE firms a joint venture partner, subcontractor, sub-consultant and/or supplier of goods and services. The DBE firms used must be certified at the time the contract is awarded.
- Bidders are required to respond as instructed with specific documentation concerning the nature and dollar amount of participation for each proposed DBE firm.
- Where a bidder finds it is unable to achieve the DBE participation goal established for a contract, it is required to provide documentation showing the “good faith efforts” it made to achieve the goal.
- In general, bidders are required to provide the following documentation to support its good faith efforts:
- Each DBE firm contacted including name, telephone number and email address for the person(s) contacted and date contacted.
- Nature and dollar amount of the work each DBE firm was solicited to perform.
- Each DBE firm's response to solicitation.
- Reasons any DBE firms contacted were not used.
- Types of actions considered in determining “good faith efforts” include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Did the bidder solicit DBE firms through sufficient responsible and available means with sufficient lead time to ensure a reasonable number of DBE firms might respond before the deadline to submit the bid?
- Did the bidder solicit DBE firms for all portions of the work to be performed where both subcontracting opportunities existed, and DBE firms were available to increase the greatest likelihood the DBE participation goal would be achieved?
- Did the bidder provide DBE firms adequate information about plans, specifications, and requirements of the contract to allow the DBE firms to adequately respond in a timely manner?
- Did the bidder negotiate in good faith with interested DBE firms and have sound reasons for rejecting the participation of any potential DBE firms?
- Contracts generally are awarded to next lowest bidder in situations where a bidder is unable to adequately demonstrate its good faith efforts to achieve the DBE participation goal established for a contract.
The Office of Business Development (OBD) is responsible to certify the eligibility of businesses to participate in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. Companies are required to complete an application and provide certain supporting documentation including, but not limited to, the following information:
- Business and personal tax returns for the three years most recent years.
- Company financial statements, business structure/ownership information.
- Bios and/or resumes of business owners.
Staff reviews the application and supporting documentation, and conducts an on-site review of the applicant’s place of business.
A certification decision will be reached within 30 days of receipt of a “completed” application.
User Guides (DBE Applicants)
Effective Dec. 21, 2015: All users will need to use the Request Account link (in step 1 below) to obtain a User ID. Login here if you have already obtained a new BASIC User ID.
New to the program
Signing up is simple on-line. All you have to do is follow the steps below to get started on your way:
- Request a Basic Account from Request Page.
- Login to CRL.
- Complete application and upload on-line.
The Office of Business Development (OBD) is committed to ensuring DBE participation on contracts meets the amount agreed. OBD works to ensure that DBE contract requirements are communicated to all necessary parties, properly included in the contract documents, and DBE contract terms and conditions are met.
OBD compliance and monitoring actions include, but is not limited, to the following:
- Participate in contract pre-bid and pre-award meetings to ensure contract requirements are met. and prime contractors have an understanding of their responsibilities and obligations.
- Approve DBE utilization plans proposed by contractors.
- Review certified payroll and manpower utilization reports to ensure compliance with applicable Federal, State, and Local regulations, regarding Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).
- Ensure prompt payment is made to DBE subcontractors.
- Verify information submitted by contractors as related to DBE participation, and routinely review and confirm DBE participation attainment on contracts before invoice submittals are paid.
- Perform on-site visits to construction work projects to verify compliance with contract specifications and requirements.
- Works with prime contractors and subcontractors to promptly resolve concerns where DBE participation and compliance concerns exist.
The Office of Business Development (OBD) is required by Federal regulations to establish Contract-Specific and Annual Overall DBE goals, as described below:
- Contract-specific DBE Goal Determination: Procurements are reviewed to establish DBE participation goals on contracts exceeding $25,000, based on identified subcontracting opportunities and ready, willing and available certified DBE firms.
- Annual Overall DBE Goal Determination: RTA makes a 3-year estimate of the overall opportunity that will exist for DBE participation on contracts bid during the federal reporting period. This estimate becomes the overall DBE Goal for the federal fiscal year. The goal is calculated according to a methodology approved by the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) and it is submitted to the FTA every 3 years for review and approval.
OBD works to identify and certify DBE firms, encourage strong relationships between RTA and DBE firms, and assist DBE firms concerning RTA’s procurement policies, procedures and contracting opportunities. OBD further engages, supports, and assists the community of small, women and minority-owned business and the contractor/bidders community, through outreach activities, technical assistance, and serving as a liaison between RTA, DBE firms, prime contractors, and others including public officials.
Representative Outreach activities include the following:
- Attended Urban League Annual Meeting
- Attended the JumpStart Annual Meeting
- Attended DBE Training Course in Phoenix
- Support RTA Hispanic Blue Ribbon Panel
- Attended Aligning Inclusion with Business and Talent Outcomes at Corporate College
- Participated on the Ohio Supplier Diversity Exchange at Quicken Loans Arena
- Attended the 2015 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference
- Attended Prevailing Wage & Minimum Wage Webinar
- Attended City of Cleveland DBE Certification Event
- Attended ODOT’s Town Hall Meeting
- Participated on Match Maker for Small Businesses at Progressive Field
- Attended the Supplier Forum and Discussion on Minority Economic Inclusion for the 2016 Republican National Convention
- Attended DBE Outreach Project & Casualty Insurance Meeting
- Participated on Civil Rights Webinar on DBE Regulations
- Participated on DBE Certification Workshop at Akron Urban League
- Hosted DBE Informational event at Burke Lakefront Airport
- Attended FTA training in Atlanta on DBE Certification changes
- Attended U.S. DOT DBE Stakeholder Meeting in Washington, DC.
- Participated in Job Corps Community Partner event
- Held Community Outreach meeting for DBE Goal Setting
- Participated in DBE Best Practices Webinar Series
- Attended Northeast Ohio Sewer District DBE Certification Clinic
- Attended Hispanic Commerce Meeting
- Participated with Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Commission on Economic Inclusion
- Attended ODOT matchmaker for Opportunity Corridor Section 2
SMALL BUSINESS PARTICIPATION PLAN
RTA’s Small Business Participation Plan is designed to foster the development and continued viability of small businesses. RTA is committed to developing relationships and increasing business participation with small business concerns in a fiscally responsible manner. Over the years, many small businesses have been integral partners in RTA's work, supported the quality products and services RTA provides to its customers, and include DBE firms and non-DBE certified women and minority-owned small businesses.
In compliance with 49 CFR Part 26.39: Fostering Small Business Participation, RTA hereby establishes a Small Business Participation Plan to assist small business concerns, and ensure such businesses participate in a fair proportion of RTA's contracts and purchases.
RTA has a non-binding administrative target to award in the range of 5-10 percent of its annual addressable spend to contractors and subcontractors that are small business concerns, as defined by the Small Business Administration’s size standards contained in 13 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Part 121.
Addressable spend is defined to exclude items such as transit motor vehicles, real estate, proprietary contracts, and/or procurements, where it has been demonstrated that small business concerns are not represented in the local market. RTA will verify the size standards of companies through a self-reporting a mechanism for companies reported to have been awarded contracts as small business concerns.
C. Program Administration
The Director of Office of Business Development has the overall responsibility for administering the Plan, with the support of the Director of Procurement. Efforts shall include, but are not limited to, the following activities:
- Develop and maintain bidder's list of small businesses.
- Ensure procurements and solicitations are designed to encourage and allow participation of small business concerns.
- Ensure small business concerns are included on the source lists for all solicitations for products, commodities and services for which they are capable of providing.
- Educate small business participants regarding procurement policies and procedures.
- Maintain an up-do-date database of small business concerns to ensure the procurement staff has information needed to solicit products and services from firms and invite them to compete for contracts and purchase orders.
- Ensure periodic rotation of potential small business concerns on bidder’s lists.
- Maintain record of awards to small business concerns, monitor performance, and assess semi-annually the extent to which small business are participating in purchases and contracts, and make any adjustments necessary to achieve the Plan goals.
- Promote policy and program initiatives that support awarding contract and subcontracts to small business concerns to include providing copies of Invitations For Bids, Requests for Proposals, and Request for Quotations to organizations and associations, such as the SBA, Council on Smaller Enterprises (COSE), Urban League, Women and Veteran Business Associations, etc. for dissemination to members.
D. Strategies to support Small Business participation
- Encourage the use of small business concerns in procurements, by including a clause in all contracts entitled Utilization of Small Business Concerns; and making contractors (except small business concerns) that are awarded contracts responsible to make good-faith efforts to include small business concerns as subcontractors.
- Consider race-neutral small business set-asides for contracts on a case-by case basis, where staff has determined there is a reasonable expectation of receiving at least two offers from small business concerns, and the award will provide a fair and competitive price.
- Once a product or service has been acquired successfully on the basis of a set-aside, RTA will make every effort to ensure that future purchases for the product or service are acquired using small business concerns.
- Sponsors and actively participates in outreach activities and utilizes sources, outlets, and venues to identify and engage small businesses to include Business Opportunity Workshops, Minority Business Enterprise Seminars, Trade Fairs, Procurement Conferences, etc.
- Develops marketing materials that assist small business concerns in pursuit of procurement opportunities, and provides networking opportunities and technical assistance to ensure that small businesses are aware of contracting opportunities and know how to prepare responsive bids as prime or subcontractor.
- Establish a Small Business Participation Advisory Council to help successfully implement the Small Business Participation Plan. The key purpose of the Small Business Participation Council is to improve RTA's spending outcomes with small business concerns.
What is a DBE?
What is a DBE goal?
Does my firm have to be certified as a DBE to do business with the RTA?
How does DBE certification help my firm get RTA business?
In what other ways does DBE certification help my firm?
What are first steps for a firm interested in becoming a DBE?
How long will it take for my firm to be certified?
When is a bidder required to make "good faith efforts"?
What is the Unified Certification Program (UCP)?
How do I bid on contracts less than $25,000?
How does RTA monitor and enforce Prevailing Wages on construction contracts?
How does RTA apply Affirmative Action to contracts?
How is DBE participation monitored?
The Federal government defines a DBE as a small business that must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more “socially and economically disadvantaged” individuals. The management and daily operations of the business must also be conducted by such individuals. Federal regulations presume that the following groups are “socially and economically disadvantaged”: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Portuguese Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Asian-Indian Americans, women, and any other individuals found to be socially and economically disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
It is the estimate of an overall opportunity that exists for DBE participation on contracts. The goal is calculated according to a method approved by FTA and submitted every 3 years for review and approval.
No. Any business, no matter who owns it, may compete for any RTA contract, either as a prime contractor or as a subcontractor, whether or not they are certified as a DBE. However, if your firm is seeking to perform work on a contract as a DBE, you must first obtain DBE certification.
The Office of Business Development (OBD) reviews contracts to determine whether they present opportunities for DBEs. Based on federal guidelines, the OBD may set goals for the participation of DBEs on a contract, help the prime contractor find qualified DBE subcontractors, and monitor the performance of the prime contractor to ensure that it is using good faith efforts to meet participation goals.
When a contract is ready to bid, OBD identifies available qualified DBE firms and makes available a list of eligible DBE firms seeking bids.
When OBD establishes a goal for DBE participation, prime contractors will seek to identify qualified DBE firms to meet contract goals. In general, those contractors will look for firms that have already been certified as DBEs.
Being a certified DBE may also open the door to opportunities for growing your business, by making it easier for you to market to RTA agencies and other governmental entities. You will also gain the advantage of having your business listed in the UCP Directory of Certified DBE Firms. Prime contractors use the directory to identify DBEs for participation in their contracts.
First, you will need to complete a UCP Certification Application. Then OBD will conduct a certification review pursuant to federal regulations.
The certification process may take up to 90 days.
Q. When is a bidder required to make "good faith efforts"? How are "good faith efforts" evaluated in the bidding process?
A bidder is required to make "good faith efforts" when the firm determines that it can't meet the stated DBE goal. Types of actions considered as part of a bidder's "good faith efforts" include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Adequate solicitation of DBE 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 UCP provides one-stop shopping for DBE firms. One unified directory, including all certified DBE firms, is available for the entire State. The advantages for the DBE firms are: one certification will enable them to be eligible to fulfill DBE goals set on any project with any governmental agency receiving Federal Transportation funding in Ohio; and the DBE firms will also have more visibility due to the unified statewide directory.
In order to bid on small purchase contracts, prospective bidders should be on the procurement bidders list. The solicitation process for small purchases is the following:
- Small purchases not exceeding $2,000 may be accomplished without quotations from vendors. DBE vendors shall be afforded maximum opportunity practical to participate.
- For purchases that have a total value between $2,000 and $5,000, a minimum of three (3) verbal quotations are required to be requested. Of these quotations, one is to be the previous supplier and efforts are to be made to include DBE vendors.
- Purchases with an estimated value between $5,000.01 and $25,000 shall require written quotation from a minimum of three (3) vendors and efforts shall be made to include DBE vendors.
The Davis-Bacon Act and the State of Ohio Revised Code, Title XLI Labor and Industry, Chapter 4115 Wage and Hours on Public Works govern RTA. RTA is required to comply with all prevailing wage and hours regulation. Prevailing wages are monitored through the submission of certified payrolls by the contractor to RTA.
All bidders are required to complete and submit Equal Employment and Affirmative Action paperwork at the time of bid. OBD reviews all EEO/AA information submitted by bidders. After a contract is awarded, all contractors are required to submit EEO reports every six months for the duration of the contract.
At the time of bid, bidders are required to submit all DBE participation forms provided in the solicitation package. After contract award, OBD conducts desk audits of all contracts and requires all contractors to submit vendor payment forms to ensure payment is made to all DBE’s for work completed.
|City of Cleveland||http://www.cleveland.oh.us/|
|Cleveland Municipal School District||http://www.cmsdnet.net/|
|Cleveland - Cuyahoga County Port Authority||http://wwww.portofcleveland.com/|
|Federal Transit Administration (FTA)||http://www.fta.dot.gov/|
|North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)||http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html|
|Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) - the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Counties of Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina|
|Office of Small and Disadvangage Business Utilization (OSDBU) Technical Assistance Brochure|
|Ohio Department of Transportation||http://www.dot.state.oh.us/|
|State of Ohio||http://www.ohio.gov/|
|U.S. Small Business Administration||http://www.sba.gov/|
|U.S. Department of Labor||http://www.dol.gov/|
|U.S. Department of Transportation||http://www.dot.gov/|
|Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations||http://www.wdol.gov/|
|List of Certified DBE Companies||http://www.dot.state.oh.us/DBE/Pages/DBE-Directory.aspx|
|SCORE - Service Corps of Retired Executives||http://www.score.org/|
|Surety Information Office - The Information Source on Surety Bonds in Construction||http://www.sio.org/|
|Greater Cleveland Partnership||http://www.gcpartnership.com/|
|COSE, the small business division of the Greater Cleveland Partnership||http://www.cose.org/|
|Northern Ohio Minority Business Council (NOMBC)||http://www.nombconline.org/|
|Urban League of Cleveland||http://www.ulcleveland.org/|
|U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce||http://ushcc.com/|
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (the Authority) is committed to diversity and ensuring that all persons have an equal opportunity to receive and participate in contracts. The Authority demonstrates this commitment by leveling the playing field for all businesses interested in contract opportunities, through the implementation and operation of its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. The Authority is committed to non-discrimination in its contracting process, continually increasing the number of Authority-certified DBE firms, and encouraging the participation of DBE firms in prime contracting and subcontracting opportunities. The Authority also provides information and programs that will assist DBE firms in being able to achieve the goal of successfully competing and functioning outside of the parameters of the Authority’s DBE Program.
The Authority receives federal assistance from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT requires all Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recipients who will award prime contracts exceeding $250,000 in FTA funds in a Federal Fiscal Year to have a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program that meets the requirements of 49 CFR Part 26, Participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in Department of Transportation Financial Assistance Programs.
II. POLICY STATEMENT
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in accordance with regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 49 CFR Part 26. The GCRTA has received Federal financial assistance from the Department of Transportation, and as a condition of receiving this assistance, the Authority has signed an assurance that it will comply with 49 CFR Part 26.
It is the policy of the Authority to ensure that DBEs, as defined in Part 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations, have an equal opportunity to receive and participate in DOT-assisted contracts. It is also the Authority’s policy:
- To ensure non-discrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts;
- To create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts;
- To ensure that the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;
- To ensure that only firms that fully meet 49 CFR Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs;
- To help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT-assisted contracts;
- To assist in the development of firms that can compete successfully in the market place outside the DBE Program.
The Authority will never exclude any person(s) from participation in, deny any person(s) the benefits of, or otherwise discriminate against anyone in connection with the award and performance of any contract covered by 49 CFR Part 26 on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin. In administering it’s DBE program, the Authority will not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, use criteria or methods of administration that have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the DBE program with respect to individuals of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin.
Implementation of the DBE program is given the same priority as compliance with all other legal obligations incurred by the Authority in its financial assistance agreements with the Department of Transportation.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has disseminated this policy statement to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees and all of the components of the organization. The Authority has distributed this statement to DBE and non-DBE business communities that perform work for the Authority on DOT-assisted contracts.
III. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
The objectives are found in the policy statement on the first page of this program.
The Authority is the recipient of federal transit funds authorized by Federal transit laws codified at 49 U.S.C. Section 5301 et seq.; Title 23, United States Code (Highways); or the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 23 U.S.C. Section 101 note, amended by the TEA-21 Restoration Act, Pub. L. 105-206, July 22, 1998, 23 U.S.C. Section 101 note, other amendments to TEA-21, or to other Federal legislation administered by FTA to the extent FTA so determines.
The Authority has adopted the definitions contained in Section 26.5 of 49 CFR Part 26 for this program. The definitions can be found in Attachment J of this program.
D. Reporting Keeping Requirements
The Authority will report DBE participation on a semi-annual basis using DOT Form 0603. This report will reflect payments actually made to DBEs on DOT-assisted contracts. The Authority will provide form 0603 to FTA by June 1 and December 1 of each year.
E. Bidders List
The Authority will create a bidders list, consisting of information about all DBE and non-DBE firms that bid or quote on DOT-assisted contracts. The purpose of this requirement is to allow use of the bidders list approach to calculate overall goals. The Authority will collect this information in the following ways:
- Notice in Solicitations
- Contract Clause
- Bid Proposal Submissions
F. Federal Financial Assistance Agreement
The Authority has signed the following assurances, applicable to all DOT-assisted contracts and their administration:
- Assurance: The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (including sub-recipients) shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex in the award and performance of any DOT assisted contract or in the administration of its DBE Program or the requirements of 49 CFR Part 26. The Authority (including sub-recipients) shall take necessary and reasonable steps under 49 CFR Part 26 to ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT assisted contracts. The Authority’s DBE Program, as required by 49 CFR Part 26 and as approved by DOT, is incorporated by reference in this agreement. Implementation of this program is a legal obligation and failure to carry out its terms shall be treated as a violation of this agreement. Upon notification to the Authority of its failure to carry out its approved program, the Department may impose sanctions as provided for under Part 26 and may, in appropriate cases, refer the matter for enforcement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 and/or the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986 (31 U.S.C. 3801 et seq.).
- Contract Assurance: The Authority will ensure that the following clause is placed in every DOT-assisted contract and subcontract:
The contractor, sub-recipient, or subcontractor shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex in the performance of this contract. The contractor shall carry out applicable requirements of 49 CFR Part 26 in the award and administration of DOT assisted contracts. Failure by the contractor to carry out these requirements is a material breach of this contract, which may result in the termination of this contract or such other remedies as the recipient deems appropriate.
IV. ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS
A. DBE Program Updates
The Authority has awarded prime contracts (excluding transit vehicle purchases) exceeding $250,000 in FTA funds in a Federal Fiscal Year. . The Authority will continue to carry out this program until all funds from DOT financial assistance have been expended. The Authority will provide to DOT updates representing significant changes in the program.
B. DBE Liaison Officer (DBELO)
The Authority has designated the following individual as the DBE Liaison Officer (DBELO):
Deputy General Manager
Finance and Administration
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
1240 W. 6th Street,
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
In this capacity, the DBELO is responsible for implementing all aspects of the DBE Program and ensuring that the Authority complies with all provisions of 49 CFR Part 26. The DBELO has direct, independent access to the CEO, General Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, concerning DBE program matters. An organizational chart displaying the DBELO's position in the organization is found in Attachment A to this program.
The DBELO is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the DBE program in coordination with other appropriate officials. Program duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
- Gathers and reports statistical data and other information as required by DOT.
- Reviews third party contracts and purchase orders for compliance with this program.
- Works with all departments to set overall annual goals.
- Ensures that bid notices and requests for proposals are available to DBEs in a timely manner.
- Establishes DBE goals for solicitations (both race-neutral methods and contract specific goals attainment and identifies ways to improve progress).
- Monitors GCRTA progress toward goal attainment and identifies ways to improve progress.
- Participates in pre-bid meetings.
- Advises the CEO/Board of Trustees on DBE matters and achievement.
- Chairs the DBE Advisory Committee.
- Provides DBEs with information and assistance in preparing bids, obtaining bonding and insurance.
- Plans and participates in DBE training seminars.
- Certifies DBEs according to the criteria set by DOT and acts as liaison to the Uniform Certification Process in the State of Ohio.
- Provides outreach to DBEs and community organizations to advise them of opportunities.
- Maintains the GCRTA updated directory on certified DBEs.
C. DBE Financial Institutions
It is the policy of the Authority to investigate the full extent of services offered by financial institutions owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in the community, to make reasonable efforts to use these institutions, and to encourage prime contractors on DOT-assisted contract to make use of these institutions.
D. Prompt Payment Mechanisms
The Authority (including sub-recipients) will comply with the prompt payment requirements and include the following language in all contracts as provided in Federal Regulations 49 CFR Part 26.29
The Authority will include in all construction solicitation packages and contracts the following Prompt Payment language:
Within ten (10) days after receiving payment from the Authority, Contractor shall pay each subcontractor or material supplier all amounts due and invoiced.
Upon completion of the project or completion of any subcontractor's portion of the project, and upon receipt of all required documentation and deliverables, the Authority will approve release of retainage or portions thereof directly to the Contractor. The Contractor shall release retainage due to each subcontractor or material supplier within ten (10) days following Authority’s payment to the Contractor for work completed or material supplied by them.
The Authority will include in all other solicitation packages and contracts the following Prompt Payment language:
The Authority will not hold retainage from the Contractor and the Contractor is prohibited from holding retainage from all Subcontractors.
The Authority declines to hold retainage from the Contractor and the Contractor that holds retainage from its Subcontractor is required to make prompt and full payment of any retainage held by the Contractor to the Subcontractor within 10 days of the Subcontractors satisfactory completion of work.
Enforcement of Prompt Payment Requirements
The Authority shall impose such sanctions as it may determine to be appropriate, including but not limited to:
a.Withholding of payments under the contract until the Contractor complies; and/or
b.Cancellation, termination, or suspension of the contract, in whole or in part;
The Authority maintains a directory identifying all firms eligible to participate as DBEs. The directory lists the firm's name, address, phone number, date of the most recent certification, and the type of work (NAICS code) the firm has been certified to perform as a DBE. The Directory is updated monthly and is available at:
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Office of Business Development
1240 W. 6th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Copies can be picked up between 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday - Friday
The Office of Business Development webpage: www.riderta.com
The Directory may be found in Attachment B to this program document.
The Authority has not identified that over-concentration exists in the categories of work that DBE firms are available to perform.
G. Business Development Programs
The Authority plans to establish a business development program.
H. Monitoring and Enforcement Mechanisms
The Authority (including sub-recipients) will apply the following monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with 49 CFR Part 26.
- The Authority will bring to the attention of the Department of Transportation any false, fraudulent, or dishonest conduct in connection with the program, so that DOT can take the steps (e.g., referral to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution, referral to the DOT Inspector General, action under suspension and debarment or Program Fraud and Civil Penalties rules) provided in 49 CFR Part 26, Section 26.109.
- The Authority will consider similar action under its legal authorities, including responsibility determinations in future contracts. Attachment C lists the regulations, provisions, and contract remedies available to the Authority in the event of non-compliance with the DBE regulations by a participant in the Authority’s procurement activities.
- The Authority will also provide a monitoring and enforcement mechanism to verify that work committed to DBEs at contract award is actually performed by the DBEs. This will be accomplished by submission of vendor payment report by the prime contractor and on-site project visits by Authority staff. The Authority will keep a running tally of actual payments to DBE firms for work committed to them at the time of contract award.
I. FTA Reporting Requirement
The Authority is required to submit a Uniform Report of DBE Awards of Commitments and Payments to FTA for review on a semi-annual basis. The form of report and instructions for completion are included as Appendix B to 49 CFR Part 26, and as incorporated in the Transit Award Management System TrAMS. The report generally includes the following information that will be submitted through TrAMs: the agency for which the report is being submitted (GCRTA), federal fiscal year, date report is submitted, reporting period, name of recipient, triennial DBE Goal, dollar and number of awards and commitments made during the reporting period including indication of race conscious and race neutral, DBE Awards/Commitments during the reporting period by ethicity and gender, and actual payments on contracts completed during the reporting period.
The report shall be submitted to FTA using TrAMS. The DBE Reporting module is found within TrAMs under the Civil Rights tab. The report shall be submitted to FTA not later than June 1 (for period Oct. 1-Mar.31) and Dec. 1 (for period Apr.1-Sept.30).
V. GOALS, GOOD FAITH EFFORTS, AND COUNTING
A. Set-asides or Quotas
The Authority does not use quotas in any way in the administration of its DBE program.
B. Overall Goals
A description of the methodology to calculate the overall goal and the goal calculations can be found in Attachment D to this program. The overall goals will be updated annually.
The Authority will submit its annual overall goal to FTA by Aug. 1 of each year. Before establishing the overall goal each year, the Authority will consult with the DBE Program Advisory Committee. This committee will consist of the following:
- Business, Trade and Social organizations
- Certified DBE firms
- Authority staff
- Minority Organizations
- Female Groups
Following this consultation and the development of the goal, the Authority will publish a notice of the proposed overall goal, informing the public that the proposed goal and its rational are available for inspection during normal business hours at the Authority’s, Main Office for 30 days following the date of the notice. Comments will be accepted from the general public and FTA for 45 days from the date of the notice. The goal will be published in local newspapers, minority focused media, the Authority’s website and various trade-publications. The Authority will issue this notice by June 1 of each year. The Authority will hold a public meeting to discuss the proposed goal. Prior to sending the proposed goal to FTA, the Authority will present the proposed goal to the GCRTA Board of Trustees for approval.
The Authority will begin using the overall goal on Oct. 1 of each year, unless otherwise notified by the FTA.
C. Transit Vehicle Manufacturers (TVM) Goals
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (including sub-recipients) will require each transit vehicle manufacturer, as a condition of being authorized to bid or propose on FTA-assisted transit vehicle procurements, to certify that it has complied with the requirements of section 26.49 (b-c) of the Code of Federal Regulations. The language included in all Transit Vehicle Manufacturers solicitations states the following:
Transit Vehicle Manufacturers must establish and submit for FTA’s approval an annual overall percentage goal. In setting the overall goal, you should be guided, to the extent applicable, by the principles underlying 49 CFR Part 26.45. The base from which the TVM calculates this goal is the amount of FTA financial assistance included in transit vehicle contracts TVMs will perform during the fiscal year in question. TVMs must exclude from this base, funds attributable to work performed outside the United States and its territories, possessions, and commonwealths. These requirements and procedures with respect to submission and approval of overall goals apply to TVMs as they do to the Authority. As a transit vehicle manufacturer, you may make the certification required by this section if you have submitted the goal this section requires and FTA has approved it or not disapproved it.
D. Breakout of Estimated Race-Neutral & Race-Conscious Participation
Race-Neutral – Measures used to assist all small businesses
Race-Conscious – Measures used specifically in assisting only DBEs
The breakout of estimated race-neutral and race-conscious participation can be found in Attachment D to this program. This breakout will be updated annually when the goal calculation is updated.
E. Contract Goals
The Authority will use contract goals to meet a portion of the overall goal. The Authority does not project being able to meet the goal using race-neutral means. Contract goals are established so that, over the period to which the overall goal applies, the contract goals will cumulatively result in meeting any portion of the overall goal that is not projected to be met through the use of race-neutral means.
The Authority will establish contract goals only on those DOT-assisted contracts that have subcontracting possibilities. The Authority need not establish a contract goal on every such contract, and the size of contract goals will be adapted to the circumstances of each such contract (availability of DBEs to perform the particular type of work and projected subcontractable dollar amount or percentage of work available to DBEs).
The Authority will express its contract goals as a percentage of the total amount of a DOT-assisted contract.
F. Good Faith Efforts Procedures
The obligation of the bidder/offeror is to make good faith efforts. The bidder/offeror can demonstrate that it has done so either by meeting the contract goal or documenting good faith efforts. Examples in determining good faith efforts are:
- Did the offeror attend any scheduled pre-solicitation or pre-proposal meetings to inform DBEs of contracting and subcontracting opportunities?
- Did the offeror advertise in general circulation, trade association and minority-focus media concerning the subcontracting opportunities? If so, show documentation of the publications and when advertised.
- Did the offeror provide written notice to a reasonable number of specific DBEs that their interest in the contract was being solicited, in sufficient time to allow the DBEs to participate effectively? If so, provide proof or a record of the solicitation(s).
- Did the offeror follow up with the DBE firms interested in participating? If so, show documentation of which DBEs contacted and when the follow up occurred.
- Did the offeror select portions of work to be done by DBEs (including dividing contracts into economically feasible units to facilitate participation)?
- Did the offeror provide adequate information about plans, specifications, and/or contracting requirements?
- Did the offeror negotiate in good faith with interested DBEs, not rejecting DBEs as unqualified without sound reasons? Please indicate the DBEs that you attempted to contract with and the reasons for rejections.
- Did the offeror make efforts to provide assistance to obtain bonding, lines of credit, or insurance (if applicable)?
- Did the offeror effectively use the services of available minority and female organizations, contractors’ groups, state and local offices, etc., that have knowledge of available DBE firms or the names of organizations to locate such firms? If so, show documentation of these efforts, the organizations and the contact persons. Attachment E to this program provides forms 1 & 2 required to demonstrate Good Faith Efforts.
The following personnel are responsible for determining whether a bidder/offeror who has not met the contract goal has documented sufficient good faith efforts to be regarded as complaint or non-complaint.
Business Development Specialist
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Office of Business Development
1240 W. 6th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
The Authority will ensure that all information is complete and accurate and adequately documents the bidder/offer's good faith efforts before committing to the performance of the contract by the bidder/offeror.
G. Information To Be Submitted In Solicitations for DBE Participation
The Authority treats bidder/offerors' compliance with good faith efforts' requirements as a matter of responsiveness.
Each solicitation for which a contract goal has been established will require the bidders/offerors to submit the following information:
- The names and addresses of DBE firms that will participate in the contract;
- A description of the work that each DBE will perform;
- The dollar amount of the participation of each DBE firm participating;
- Written and signed documentation of commitment to use a DBE subcontractor whose participation it submits to meet a contract goal;
- Written and signed confirmation from the DBE that it is participating in the contract as provided in the prime contractors commitment;
- And, if the contract goal is not met, evidence of good faith efforts.
Forms are provided with contractor solicitation documents that can be used to collect information necessary to determine whether the bidder/offeror has satisfied these requirements.
Sample Bid Specification:
The Authority is committed to encouraging participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) in contracts let by the Authority. It is the policy of the United States Department of Transportation, as adopted by the Authority, that socially and economically Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, as defined at Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 26, shall be afforded an equal opportunity in the performance of the Authority’s contracts or subsequent subcontracts resulting from this solicitation. In this regard, the offerors shall take all necessary and reasonable steps in accordance with 49 CFR Part 26, and the Authority’s DBE Program to ensure that the DBE obligation is met. The selected contractor shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin or sex in the performance of a resulting DOT-assisted contract.
The Authority establishes a contract specific DBE goal of the percent of the work to be performed under each solicitation.
The Authority determines a DBE participation goal in contracts with potential subcontracting opportunities. The DBE goal remains applicable to the total contract dollar amount including any modifications.
Offerors are required to disclose their proposed level of DBE participation (expressed as a percentage of the proposed bid price) in the space designated on the solicitation response.
In addition to any other requirements contained in the solicitation, the following DBE Program requirements must be satisfied and include a representation that:
1. The Offeror has met the goal established by the Authority for this procurement, or
2. The Offeror has made a good faith effort to attain the level of DBE participation sought by the Authority for this procurement
Each offeror must include a statement in Enclosure B-1 for non-construction solicitations or in the designated area of the construction bid, the level of DBE participation attained through such effort. This submittal is regarded as a matter of responsiveness. Failure to make these submittals may serve to disqualify the bid or proposal as non-responsive to this solicitation.
A DBE Participation Plan. Each Offeror should also prepare a complete DBE Participation Plan that sets forth the extent of DBE involvement in this procurement and will be considered in determining Offeror’s responsibility.
DBE participation plans shall include the following minimum information:
- DBE Participation Schedule, (Enclosure B-2/Schedule 19C-1) which includes:a.Names and addresses of the DBE entities that will participate in the contract;
- The dollar amount of the participation of each named DBE;
- A description of the work each named DBE will perform;
- Letter of Intent (Enclosure B-3/Schedule 19C-2) from each DBE whose participation is proposed for the performance of this contract as a subcontractor or joint venture partner.
H. Administrative Reconsideration
Within 3 days of being informed by the Authority that the bidder is not responsive because the bidder has not documented sufficient good faith efforts, a bidder/offeror may request administrative reconsideration. Bidder/offerors should make this request in writing to the following reconsideration official:
Disadvantage Business Enterprise Liaison Officer (DBELO)
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
1240 W. 6th Street,
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Phone - 216/566-5275
Fax – 216/566-5267
The reconsideration official will not have played any role in the original determination that the bidder/offeror did not document sufficient good faith efforts.
As part of this reconsideration, the bidder/offeror will have the opportunity to provide written documentation or argument concerning the issue of whether it met the goal or made adequate good faith efforts to do so. The bidder/offeror will have the opportunity to meet in person with the Authority reconsideration official to discuss the issue of whether it met the goal or made adequate good faith efforts to do.
The Authority will send the bidder/offeror a written decision on reconsideration, explaining the basis for finding that the bidder did or did not meet the goal or make adequate good faith efforts to do so. The result of the reconsideration process is not administratively appealable to the Department of Transportation.
I. Good Faith Efforts when a DBE is replaced on a contract
The Authority will require a contractor to make good faith efforts to replace a DBE that is terminated or has otherwise failed to complete its work on a contract with another certified DBE, to the extent needed to meet the contract goal. The Authority will require in all solicitations that the prime contractor notify the DBE Liaison Officer immediately of the DBE's inability or unwillingness to perform and provide reasonable documentation.
In this situation, the Authority will require the prime contractor to obtain Authority written approval prior to the substitution of a DBE and to provide copies of new or amended subcontracts, or documentation of good faith efforts.
If the contractor does not comply with this provision, the Authority may elect to apply contract remedies as defined in 49 CFR Part 26, or other contract remedies, as appropriate. Additionally, the Authority may recommend that the profits from the terminated portion of the DBE subcontract be forfeited by the Contractor.
If the contractor fails or refuses to comply in the time specified, the Authority’s contracting office will issue an order stopping all or part of payment/work until satisfactory action has been taken. If the contractor still fails to comply, the contracting officer may issue a termination for default proceeding.
J. Counting DBE Participation
The Authority will only count the value of the work actually performed by a DBE participating on a contract.
VI CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
A. Certification Process
The Authority will use the certification standards of Subpart D of 49 CFR Part 26, to determine the eligibility of firms to participate as DBEs in DOT-assisted contracts.
The minimum certification requirements are:
A firm must be a small business as defined by the federal government that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The management and daily operations of the business must also be conducted by such individuals. The business cannot exceed the minimum gross receipts averaged over a 3-year period and the owner’s personal net worth cannot exceed $1.32 million.
To be certified as a DBE, a firm must meet all certification eligibility standards. The Authority will make its certification decisions based on the facts as a whole.
For information about the certification process or to apply for certification, firms should contact:
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Office of Business Development
1240 W. 6th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
216/566-5044 – Phone
216/781-4752 – Fax
The GCRTA website: www.riderta.org
The Authority/UCP Certification Application and documentation requirements are found in Attachment F to this program.
B. Unified Certification Programs
The Authority is the member of the Ohio Unified Certification Program (UCP) administered by The Ohio Department of Transportation. The UCP will meet all of the requirements of this section. The following is a description of the UCP:
The Ohio UCP will provide one-stop shopping for all DBE firms. One directory will be available for the entire State of Ohio. The State of Ohio has two primary UCP certifying agencies, The Ohio Department of Transportation and The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. The UCP certifying agencies will use the same application to certify firms and certification eligibility decisions made by the certification entities will be binding to all UCP certification accepting agencies. The certification will be honored for three years with annual renewals. At the time the certification expires, DBE firms will be required to complete a UCP DBE Re-certification Application.
For firms that are certified by the Authority and found eligible under 49 CFR Part 26, the Authority reviews the firm every three (3) years for re-certification. At the time of re-certification, firms will be required to submit the following:
- Social/Economic Disadvantage Affidavit
- No-Change Affidavit (Affidavit of Certification)
- Personal Net Worth
- Personal/Business Tax Returns
In addition to the required submissions, the Authority will conduct an on-site review of the prospective firm.
The Authority requires that on an annual basis DBE firms submit the following information for annual renewals:
- Social/Economic Disadvantage Affidavit
- No-Change Affidavit (Affidavit of Certification)
- Personal Net Worth
- Personal/Business Tax Returns
D. Annual Declaration
The Authority also requires all owners of all certified DBE firms submit, on the anniversary date of their certification, a Annual Declaration meeting the requirements of 26.83(j).
The purpose of the annual declaration is to verify continued eligibility in the program and identify owner or company changes that may effect DBE certification. This information is required to maintain or renew DBE certification.
In order to complete the Annual Declaration for continued DBE certification, the firm must attach copies of the following documents. Send individual taxes ONLY if the firm's business structure requires is (i.e. Sole Proprietor, Managing Member LLC, etc.).
- Signed Federal Business Taxes for the past year (copies of all schedules and forms referenced by the tax returns must be included).
- If appropriate, Signed Federal Individual Taxes for the past year (i.e. Sole Proprietor or S-Corp, copies of all schedules and forms referenced by the tax returns must be included).
If there has been any change in circumstances affecting a DBE firm's ability to meet size, disadvantaged status, ownership or control requirements of the DBE program or any material change in the information provided that has not yet reported to Ohio UCP, the DBE firm cannot submit the annual declaration of no change and must submit a separate notice concerning any unreported changes(s).
The Ohio UCP notifies all certified DBE firms of these obligations on an annual basis 60 days prior to the anniversary date. This notification will inform DBEs to submit the annual declaration, and owners must swear or affirm that they meet all regulatory requirements of 49 CFR Part 26, including personal net worth.
E. Denials of Initial Requests for Certification
If the Authority denies a firm's application or decertifies it, the firm may not reapply until 12 months (one year) from the final denial decision that has passed from Authority action.
F. Removal of a DBE's Eligibility
In the event the Authority proposes to remove a DBE's certification, the Authority will follow procedures consistent with 49 CFR Part 26, Section 26.87. To ensure separation of functions in a de-certification, the Authority has determined that the Disadvantage Business Enterprise Liaison Officer, will serve as the decision-maker in de-certification proceedings. The Authority has established an administrative "firewall" to ensure that the DBELO will not have participated in any way in the de-certification proceeding against the firm.
G. Certification Appeals
Any firm or complainant may appeal the Authority’s decision in a certification matter to U.S Department Of Transportation (USDOT). Such appeals may be sent to:
U.S Department of Transportation
Office of Civil Rights Certification Appeals Branch
1200 New Jersey Ave, West Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20590
The Authority will promptly implement any USDOT certification appeal decisions affecting the eligibility of DBEs for Authority DOT-assisted contracting (e.g., certify a firm if USDOT has determined that the Authority’s denial of its application was erroneous).
The Authority has developed a process for all DBE firms who wish to file an appeal.
Firms that wish to seek an appeal for certification do not have to exhaust the appeals process established by the Authority prior to contacting the U.S. Department of Transportation.
VII COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
A. Information, Confidentiality, Cooperation
The Authority will safeguard from disclosure of information to third parties that may reasonably be regarded as confidential business information, consistent with federal, state, and local law.
Notwithstanding any contrary provisions of state or local law, the Authority will not release personal financial information submitted in response to the personal net worth requirement to a third party (other than DOT) without the written consent of the submitter.
B. Monitoring Payments to DBEs
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will require prime contractors to maintain records and documents of payments to DBEs for three years following the performance of the contract. These records will be made available for inspection upon quest by any authorized representative of the Authority or DOT. This also extends to any certified DBE subcontractor.
The Authority will perform interim audits of contract payments to DBEs. The auditor will review payments to DBE subcontractors to ensure that the actual amount paid to DBE subcontractors equals or exceeds the dollar amounts stated in the schedule of DBE participation.
The Authority has attached Federal Regulations 49 CFR Part 26 for reference.
VIII SMALL BUSINESS PARTICIPATION PLAN
See Separate Tab for details
Office of Business Development
- Steven Sims
- Carl Kirkland
Business Development Specialist
Goal Setting, Contract Compliance & Reporting, and Small Business Program
- Marleise Wicker
Business Development Specialist
DBE Certification, Community Outreach & Education
- Danielle Bennett
Plan a Trip
RTA is a strong supporter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), both locally and nationally.