In accordance with 49 CFR Part 26.45(g), the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), as a recipient of U.S. Department of Transportation assistance, announces a proposed Federal Transit Administration (FTA) overall Triennial Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal of 5.6% for Federal Fiscal Years 2025-2027. Please note, MTS previously proposed a goal of 3.1% on May 13, 2024 but after updates made to its methodology to include new identified projects, the proposed goal has increased to 5.6%. This race-neutral goal represents the percentage of work anticipated to be performed by certified DBE firms on MTS FTA-assisted projects. The methodology used to determine the proposed goal will be available for public inspection for thirty (30) days from the date of this notice.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Overall Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Goal-Setting Methodology (PDF)

MTS will accept comments on this proposed goal for 30 days from the date of this notice (i.e. until July 14, 2024). Comments to the MTS DBE Liaison Officer can be directed to DBEProgram@sdmts.com or mailed to:

Attn: MTS DBE Liaison Officer
1255 Imperial Avenue, Suite 1000
San Diego, CA 92101

We encourage participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) for all our contracting opportunities.

What is the MTS DBE Program?

We promote a DBE Program in accordance with regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 26 "Participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in Department of Transportation Financial Assistance Programs" (49 CFR Part 26). As a condition of receiving federal financial assistance from the Department of Transportation, we have signed an assurance that we will comply with 49 CFR Part 26.

It is our policy to ensure that DBEs, as defined in 49 CFR Part 26, have an equal opportunity to receive and participate in MTS DOT-assisted contracts. It is also our policy to:

  1. Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of all MTS contracts and subcontracts
  2. Create a level playing field by which DBEs can compete for and perform in MTS DOT-assisted contracts
  3. Ensure that the MTS DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law and current legal standards, including the Ninth Circuit Ruling in Western States Paving vs. Washington State Department of Transportation
  4. Ensure that only firms that fully meet 49 CFR Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs
  5. Help remove procurement and contracting barriers, which impede DBE participation in MTS DOT-assisted contracts
  6. Monitor and enforce contractors’ compliance in meeting established goal objectives and program requirements
  7. Assist in the development of DBEs and Small Businesses to increase their ability to compete successfully in the market place outside the DBE Program
  8. Ensure MTS contractors and subcontractors take all necessary and reasonable steps to comply with these policy objectives.

Download the MTS DBE & Small Business Flyer (English)

Download the MTS DBE & y Pequeñas Empresas Volantes (Español)

What is a DBE?

A DBE is a for-profit small business that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged, and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.

The California Unified Certification Program (CUCP) provides certifications to small businesses looking to become a DBE in California. Visit this link for more information on the eligibility requirements or how to apply.

What is the overall goal in terms of participation of DBEs in MTS contracts?

For Federal Fiscal Years 2022-2024 (October 1, 2021-September 30, 2024), MTS’s overall goal is 6.3%. MTS has currently implemented a race-neutral DBE program. Under a race-neutral DBE program, there are no specific contract goals for DBE participation. Instead, MTS uses various outreach measures aimed at increasing DBE and other small business participation on its DOT assisted contracts.

How can I be notified of MTS’s bidding opportunities?

If interested in being notified of potential bidding opportunities, please register as a vendor on Planet Bids.

Where can I find a list of all California certified DBEs and other small businesses?

If you are a prime contractor looking to use a DBE as a subcontractor on your future contracts, the CUCP provides a statewide DBE Directory available for download. View the CUCP statewide DBE Directory.

If you’re interested in viewing a database of other California certified small businesses, such as a Minority-Owned Business (MBE), Women-Owned Business (WBE), Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Owned Business (LGBT), Small Business (SB), Disabled Veteran Business (DVBE), or Persons with Disabilities Business Enterprise (PDBE), please use the following links:

Are there any programs that could help my small business establish financing, receive a loan or offer grant opportunities?

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) backed loan program makes it easier for small businesses to get the funding they need. To learn more about how to get an SBA-backed loan, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.

The California Grants Portal provides access to all grants and loans offered on a competitive or first-come basis by California state agencies. To learn more, visit: https://www.grants.ca.gov/.

Are there any programs that providing bonding (e.g. bid bond, performance bond, payment bond) assistance?

The SBA guarantees surety bonds for certain surety companies, which allows the companies to offer surety bonds to small businesses that might not meet the criteria for other sureties. To learn more about how to get an SBA-guaranteed surety bond, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/surety-bonds.

Are there any programs that could help my small business with technical assistance?

The Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) offers free procurement technical assistance services to small businesses. For more information about PTAC, please visit https://socalptac.org/.

The Caltrans Office of Business & Economic Opportunity provides contractors resources and materials in order to assist you in becoming a certified firm, finding advertised contracts, working with Caltrans, and more. If you have additional questions or need more information, please email the Small Business Advocate at smallbusinessadvocate@dot.ca.gov.

The SBA provides a Business Guide to plan, launch, manage and grow your business, as well as offers free business counseling. For more information, visit: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide.

Are there any mentor programs available to grow my business?

Caltrans has implemented a statewide Construction Mentor-Protégé Program. Click here to view the flyer. For questions, please email D11.SmallBusiness@dot.ca.gov.

Who can I contact at MTS if I have further questions?

MTS’s DBE Liaison Officer is Samantha Leslie. Samantha Leslie oversees MTS’s DBE Program and can answer any additional questions you may have. Samantha Leslie may be contacted at either Samantha.Leslie@sdmts.com or 619.557.4539.