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Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao speaks during her Senate Confirmation Hearing on January 31, 2017. Secretary Chao is the first Asian American to serve in a cabinet position and the 18th Secretary of Transportation. (Source: Office of the President Elect)

President Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States.

THE BAD

THE GOOD The good thing for DBEs is a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure will consist primarily of construction projects in the transportation sector. These projects should offer ready, willing and able DBE firms business opportunities to participate in highway, bridge, railroad, airport and transit projects across the country. The adage ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ is fitting here, because DBEs of all shapes and sizes should have ample opportunity to participate as prime contractors, subcontractors, consultants or suppliers, provided they have the capacity and expertise to compete in the industry. The American Society of Civil Engineers said we must spend $1.6 trillion above current levels just to get our infrastructure to a state of good repair. The nation’s deteriorating infrastructure already costs the economy close to $200 billion a year, and if we do not make these needed investments now, they will simply cost more later. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that America’s infrastructure must be addressed. Senate Democrats recently published their version of a $1 trillion infrastructure plan titled “A Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure: Creating Over 15 Million New Jobs.” So far the Democrats’ plan provides more detail of the breakdown of how a $1 trillion investment can be

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spread across a variety of infrastructure needs. However, neither of the political parties seems to have a realistic plan on how to pay for it.

// Spring 2017

A potential bad thing for DBEs in this process is an increasing push from the Trump Administration to eliminate or significantly reduce federal government oversight regulations. Although much of the discussion thus far has focused on cutting back environmental and permitting regulations that detractors say slow down projects, leading highway construction industry organizations like the American Association of Road and Transportation Builders (ARTBA) has already voiced their desire for Trump to scale back DBE regulations as well. ARTBA released a report on January 1, 2017, titled “Ripe for Reform: Federal Regulatory Issues Impacting Transportation Project Delivery.” The first regulation cited by ARTBA to scale back was the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program. The report recommends revisions to rules affecting DBE Goal Setting, Good Faith Efforts, DBE Prompt Payment Provisions, DBE Certification, Counting and Purchasing of Materials and Leasing of Equipment, and other areas of the DBE Program. ARTBA’s proposed changes to many of these provisions will reverse progress made to strengthen the DBE Program during the Obama Administration. The United States Department of Transportation updated the DBE Program Final Rule in 2014 in order to address program

American DBE Magazine - Spring 2017  

American DBE Magazine is a quarterly digital and print publication dedicated to increasing business diversity and inclusion in the transport...

American DBE Magazine - Spring 2017  

American DBE Magazine is a quarterly digital and print publication dedicated to increasing business diversity and inclusion in the transport...