Planning : DBE Program

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

The DBE Program applies only to federally funded acquisitions.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) must implement the Federal Disadvantages Business Enterprise (DBE) Program in order to receive U.S. Department of Transportation funds (49 CFR Part 26). Recent legal decisions and guidance from USDOT have led Caltrans to reexamine how it implements the Program.

Prime Contractors have to meet Underutilized DBE (UDBE) participation goal or demonstrate Good Faith Efforts (GFE), to the satisfaction of the Department, in order to be awarded contracts as responsive and responsible proposers. The Department still has an obligation to the DBE community and mandate from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to try to meet the overall statewide DBE goals for federally funded contracts. See the website for the Office of Business and Economic Opportunity (OBEO) for more information.

The Department strives to increase the level of participation of disadvantaged businesses in all federal contracting activities. The overall statewide annual Department DBE goal is based on race neutral and race-conscience methodology. Pursuant to federal regulations, to participate in the DBE program, qualifying firms must first be certified as a DBE under the California Unified Certification Program.


The Department's DBE Program requirements are in a state of change, so contact DPAC for the most current information and application of DBE goals on A&E contracts.


The statewide DBE goal is based on an availability and disparity study. The Disparity study is located at:


2013 DBE Goal Approval letter

Information on the DBE program can be found at the website for the Office of Business and Economic Opportunity at: