Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Information


The Department of Transportation's DBE Program is implementing changes effective November 3, 2014. One major change is the cap on a firm's gross receipts as an eligibility criteria for businesses to particpate in the program. The cap increases from $22.41 million to $23.98 million. Other changes and improvements are highlighted at the DBE Final Rule Highlights.

The Department's 2014 Final Rule in its entirety can be found on the DOT Civil Rights website.

DBE Program Overview

Pursuant to 49 CFR Part 26, it is the policy of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) that disadvantaged business enterprises (businesses owned by women and minorities) as defined by U.S. Department of Transportation regulation 49 CFR Part 26 shall have a fair opportunity to compete for and participate on WMATA contracts and subcontracts. For any questions about the program or prompt payment questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

Metro assigns DBE participation goals on a contract-by-contract basis on federally funded construction contracts having a total dollar value greater than $500,000 and on non-construction procurements (i.e. contracts for services, supplies, and equipment) having a total value greater than $150,000.

The goal may be satisfied by utilizing one or more DBE's as joint venture partners, subcontractors or suppliers of goods and services of any kind or nature, provided that the DBE performs the tasks awarded when the contract was executed. DBE firms may also participate as prime contractors.

Information regarding the DBE Program (as well as the DBE program obligations of Metro bidders) may be found in "Appendix B" of any Metro solicitation.

DBE Certification

Only the participation of minority and women-owned firms that have been certified by WMATA's Department of Fair Practice as DBE's can be counted towards satisfaction of the goal. If you are a small, minority or woman-owned business, you are especially encouraged to participate in our business opportunities. The Department of Fair Practice publishes an online DBE Directory, which provides information regarding available DBE's in all or nearly all construction trades, as well as providers of all types of goods and services. The Directory's database is continuously supplemented and updated. For any questions about the program or prompt payment questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

Suppliers experiencing difficulty locating certified DBE participants can email DBEhotline@wmata.com.

Annual Certification Review

As a certified DBE, you are required to submit a DBE Annual No Change Affidavit, attesting to your continued status as a "socially and economically disadvantaged individual". You must also submit the firm's Federal Income Tax Returns for that year. You can access these forms by going to WMATA's Supplier Portal. In support of Metro's sustainability initiatives, all applications and forms must be e-filed. Paper documents are not accepted. For any questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

To apply for annual certification, follow these steps:

  • Sign-In to WMATA's Supplier Portal using your User Id and Password.
  • Navigate to Manage Events and Place Bids > My Certification page > Certification Review.
  • For detailed instructions, see the user guide.

If you have issues applying for annual certification, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

If a change in the ownership, control or management of your firm has occurred, you must submit a written statement immediately subsequent to the change.

Your certification does not automatically expire, however; your firm must submit the required documents annually on or before your firm's certification date. Failure to provide the requested documents in a timely manner will result in immediate actions to decertify your firm's eligibility as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise with the Metropolitan Washington Unified Certification Program.

Home State Certification

The policy governing "Home State" Certification can be found in 49 CFR Part 26.81 (3)(d). A UCP is not required to process an application for initial certification from a firm having its principal place of business outside the state if the firm is not certified by the UCP in the state in which it maintains its principal place of business. The "home state" UCP shall share its information and documents concerning the firm with other UCPs that are considering the firm's application.

For WMATA purposes you are considered "Home State" if your principal place of business is located within our transit zone:

The WMATA transit zone consists of the District of Columbia, the suburban Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George's and the Northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church.

If you are located outside of our transit zone please see the Department of Transportation's State DOT and DBE Program Web page to find your home state certification agency.

DBE Application for Certification

Please review all documents for completeness before submission. The primary cause of delayed certification is lack of documentation supporting the certification submitted. Please use the check off list provided and check off all necessary documents prior to submission. In support of Metro's sustainability initiatives, all applications and forms must be e-filed. Paper documents are not accepted. For any questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

Applying for a new certification is a two-step process:

  1. Register: As a supplier, register using WMATA's Supplier Portal. A temporary password will be sent to the email provided during registration.
  2. Apply for Certification: Sign-In using your User Id and Password into WMATA's Supplier Portal. Navigate to Manage Events and Place Bids > My Certification page > Add a New Value. For detailed instructions, see the user guide.

Please gather all applicable supporting documents and submit the application and supporting documents through the portal at the same time.

If you have issues applying for certification, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

DBE Interstate Certification

The Washington Metropolitan Uniform Certification Program (MWUCP) the official certification agency for the District of Columbia and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority chooses to review all out-of-state applications as provided in 49 CFR 26.85(c). The following applies with respect to any firm that is currently certified in its home state UCP as a DBE and wishes to apply for certification as a DBE with the MWUCP. In support of Metro's sustainability initiatives, all applications and forms must be e-filed. Paper documents are not accepted. For any questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

In order to apply for DBE certification, out-of-state DBE firms must provide copies of all of the following documents as applicable:

  1. You must provide to WMATA a complete copy of the application form, all supporting documents, and any other information you have submitted to your home state UCP or any other state related to your firm's certification. This includes affidavits of no change (see 26.83(j)) and any notices of changes (see 26.83(i)) that you have submitted to your home state UCP, as well as any correspondence you have had with your home state UCP or any other recipient concerning your application or status as a DBE firm.
  2. You must also provide to WMATA any notices or correspondence from states other than your home state UCP relating to your status as an applicant or certified DBE in those states. For example, if you have been denied certification or decertified in another state, or subject to a decertification action there, you must inform WMATA of this fact and provide all documentation concerning this action to WMATA.
  3. If you have filed a certification appeal with DOT (see 26.89 ), you must inform WMATA of the fact and provide your letter of appeal and DOT's response to the other state.
  4. You must submit an affidavit sworn to by the all of the firm's owners before a person who is authorized by State law to administer oaths or an unsworn declaration executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States.

Please retain a copy of all documents.

In support of Metro's sustainability initiatives, all applications and forms must be e-filed. Paper documents are not accepted.

Applying for a new certification is a two-step process:

  1. Register: As a supplier, register using WMATA's Supplier Portal. A temporary password will be sent to the email provided during registration.
  2. Apply for Certification: Sign-In using your User Id and Password into WMATA's Supplier Portal. Navigate to Manage Events and Place Bids > My Certification page > Add a New Value. For detailed instructions, see the user guide.

If you have issues applying for certification, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

The Metropolitan Washington Unified Certification Program (MWUCP) - DBE Vendor Directory

The Metropolitan Washington Unified Certification Program (MWUCP) has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Highway Administration for implementation. This was done to create efficiencies and streamline the certification process. A UCP has been formed between the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The link below is a directory for both WMATA and DDOT certified DBE's.