The DBE program is aimed at improving contracting opportunities for small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Virtually all the businesses it affects are small entities. There is no doubt that a DBE rule always affects a substantial number of small entities.
This rule, while improving program administration and facilitating DBE participation (e.g., by making the certification process clearer) and responding to legal developments, appears essentially cost-neutral with respect to small entities in general (as noted above, the one-stop shopping feature is intended to benefit small entities seeking to participate). It does not impose new burdens or costs on small entities, compared to the existing rule. It does not affect the total funds or business opportunities available to small businesses that seek to work in DOT financial assistance programs. To the extent that the proposals in this rule (e.g., with respect to changes in the methods used to set overall goals) lead to different goals than the existing rule, some small firms may gain, and others lose, business.
There is no data of which the Department is aware that would permit us, at this time, to measure the distributive effects of the revisions on various types of small entities. It is likely that any attempt to gauge these effects would be highly speculative. For this reason, we are not able to make a quantitative, or even a precise qualitative, estimate of these effects.