I-595 Express Corridor Improvements Project
DBE Program

What is the DBE Program?

The U.S. Department of Transportation's DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise) program provides a vehicle for increasing the participation by MBEs in state and local procurement. DOT DBE regulations require state and local transportation agencies that receive DOT financial assistance, to establish goals for the participation of DBEs. Each DOT-assisted State and local transportation agency is required to establish annual DBE goals, and review the scopes of anticipated large prime contracts throughout the year and establish contract-specific DBE subcontracting goals. Three major DOT operating administrations are involved in the DBE program. They are the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

In addition to establishing goals, state and local recipients also certify the eligibility of DBE firms to participate in DOT-assisted projects. Some groups are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged for the purposes of participation in this program. In 1987 Congress added women to the groups presumed to be disadvantaged. The main objectives of the DBE Program are:

  • To ensure that small disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) can compete fairly for federally funded transportation-related projects.
  • To ensure that only eligible firms participate as DBEs.
  • To assist DBE firms in competing outside the DBE Program.

There has been, since 1983, a statutory provision requiring DOT to ensure that at least 10% of the funds authorized for the highway and transit financial assistance programs be expended with DBEs. DOT has established a single DBE goal, encompassing both firms owned by women and minority group members.

To be certified as a DBE, a firm must be a small business owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Certifiers make the determinations based upon on-site visits, personal interviews, reviews of licenses, stock ownership, equipment, bonding capacity, work completed, resume of principal owners and financial capacity.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE)

DBEs are for-profit small business concerns where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51% interest and control management and daily business operations.

  • African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Subcontinent Asian Americans, and women are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged.
  • Other individuals can be characterized as socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.
  • To participate in the program, a small business owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals must receive DBE certification from their relevant state or local transportation agency. Note: this is not a federal certification and is not applicable to federal contracts.
  • Irrespective of what the size standard is, a firm cannot exceed the size of $22.41 million and still be seen as a Small Business. This size limit is periodically adjusted for inflation.


For complete application assistant at no cost to you, contact the Blackmon Roberts Group


  • 902 South Florida Avenue, Suite 205
  • Lakeland, Florida 33803
  • P - 863.802.1280
  • F - 863.802.1290


  • 4000 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Suite 470
  • Coral Gables, Florida 33145
  • P - 305.762.5836
  • F - 305.777.0449



  • John Goodeman
  • DBE Certification Manager
  • FL DOT - EEO
  • 605 Suwannee St.
  • Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450
  • P - 850.414.4747
  • F - 850.488.3914
  • Email - john.goodeman@dot.state.fl.us