This rule is a significant rule under Executive Order 12866, because of the substantial public interest concerning and policy importance of programs to ensure nondiscrimination in Federally- assisted contracting. It also affects a wide variety of parties, including recipients in three important DOT financial assistance programs and the DBE and non-DBE contractors that work for them. It has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. It is also a significant rule for purposes of the Department's Regulatory Policies and Procedures.
We do not believe that the rule will have significant economic impacts, however. In evaluating the potential economic impact of this rule, we begin by noting that it does not create a new program. It simply revises the rule governing an existing program. The economic impacts of the DBE program are created by the existing regulation and the statutes that mandate it, not by these revisions. The changes that we propose in this program are likely to have some positive economic impacts. For example, ``one-stop shopping'' and clearer standards in certification are likely to reduce costs for small businesses applying for DBE certification, as well as reducing administrative burdens on recipients.
The rule's narrow tailoring changes are likely to be neutral in terms of their overall economic impact. These could have some distributive impacts (e.g., if the proposed goal-setting mechanism results in changes in DBE goals, a different mix of firms may work on recipients' contracts), but there would probably not be net gains or losses to the economy. There could be some short-term costs to recipients owing to changes in program administration resulting from ``narrow tailoring,'' however.
In any event, the economic impacts are quite speculative and appear nearly impossible to quantify. Comments did not provide, and the Department does not have, any significant information that would allow the Department to estimate any such impacts.