Based on the results of its recently completed disparity study, WSDOT has asked the Federal Highway Administration to rescind the waiver WSDOT received in 2016 to exclude white woman-owned firms from the race and gender-conscious component of the DBE program.
“This new DBE Program Disparity Study… demonstrated that all presumptively disadvantaged groups, including women, are underrepresented to a statistically significant degree in state-funded highway contracting,” WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar said in a letter to the FHA Office of Civil Rights. “Stated differently, in the absence of race and gender-conscious DBE participation goals, minorities and women continue to experience disparate outcomes in the Washington highway contracting market… Therefore, WSDOT formally requests its rescission.”
There is no set timeline for FHA to respond to WSDOT’s request so, for now, the waiver (excluding white women-owned firms from WSDOT’s DBE program) remains in place.
WSDOT’s disparity study, released Sept. 11, can be found here.