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Metra and Business

DBE FAQs

What is the difference between DBE, MBE, and WBE Certification?

DBE Certification -

  • Federal Certification (DOT contracts for highway, transit, and airport)
  • Ownership (51% or more owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantage individual(s)
  • Personal Net Worth (PNW not to exceed $1,320,000)
  • SBA size standard (varies according to business category)

MBE and WBE Certification -

  • State and Local Government Contracting Authorities
  • Ownership and Control (51% or more of the stock owned and controlled by minority or woman) (controlling minority or woman must be capable of performing the daily management operations of business)
What is the Illinois Unified Certification Program (IL UCP)?

The IL UCP was developed under a mutual agreement between certifying agencies, creating “one-stop shopping” for DBE certification in Illinois. The five certifying agencies are Illinois Department of Transportation, City of Chicago, CTA, Metra, and Pace.  The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is also part of the IL UCP, but is a non-certifying agency.

What are the criteria for DBE certification?

Eligibility requirements for certification as a DBE are stated in 49 CFR Part 26, Subpart D.

The following six requirements must be proved by a DBE applicant, but they do not cover all the requirements found in 49 CFR Part 26 Subpart D.

  1. Social and Economic Disadvantage:A disadvantaged owner must be a U.S. Citizen (or resident alien) and meet the federal definition of socially and economically disadvantaged as defined in 49 CFR Part 26.67. Presumptive groups include women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian-Americans, or other minorities found to be disadvantaged by the regulations or any individual found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Personal Net Worth: Only disadvantaged persons having a personal net worth (PNW) of less than $1,320,000 can be considered as a potential qualified DBE. Items excluded from a person’s net worth calculations include an individual’s ownership interest in the applicant firm and his or her equity in their primary residence.
  3. Business Size Standard: A firm (including affiliates) must be a small business as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA).  It must not have annual gross receipts over $23,980,000 in the previous three years. Depending on the type of work the business performs, other size standards may apply.
  4. Ownership: Must be a for-profit small business concern whose socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least 51% interest, control management AND daily business operations.
  5. Independence: The business must not be affiliated with another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control. These include, but are not limited to, such areas as personnel, facilities, equipment, financial and/or bonding support, and other resources.
  6. Management and Control: The socially and economically disadvantaged owner(s) must possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and polices of the firm and to make day-to-day decisions, as well as long-term decisions on matters of management, policy and operations.
Is there a cost to the applicant for the certification process?

No. The only cost associated with certification is for notarizing the application and the cost of postage.

My firm is an out-state business and currently seeking work in Illinois; can my firm be certified as a DBE in Illinois?

Yes, however your firm must first be certified in your home State.

Please contact Metra’s Office of Business Diversity & Civil Rights at (312) 322-6323 for further information regarding this process.

What is the process for DBE Certification?

The certification process begins with the submission of a complete DBE Certification application.

The following steps are taken to certify firms:

  • Your information is reviewed to attest that you meet all of the necessary requirements. (Review the supporting documents list in your application to ensure you have submitted all documents)
  • A site visit and/or job site visit are scheduled to complete a standard questionnaire, tour the facility and take pictures if necessary.
  • A decision is made, and your firm is notified of the decision in writing. 
  • If certified, your firm will receive a certificate of DBE Certification and your firm will be added to the IL UCP directory.
How long is the DBE certification process?

On average, the DBE certification process is 60- 90 days from the time a complete application package and all required submittals is received by the Office of Business Diversity & Civil Rights.

Do I have to submit all the required paperwork in the DBE Application Supporting Documents Checklist?

Yes, you must submit all the documents that are applicable to you and your firm. Your file is not considered complete until all supporting documents are received. Failure to submit all documents can delay the certification process.

Why do I need to send all these supporting documents?

We have to ascertain not only who owns the company, but also who controls it on a daily basis. Additionally, we have to check Personal Net Worth and company size in order to comply with Federal Regulations. Supporting documentation is also needed on file to support any verification decisions. Personal financial information is confidential to the SBE Program and may not be disclosed otherwise by us, even in response to a Freedom of Information request.

If my business is certified as a DBE, what’s next?

Getting certified is just the first step!

1. Your company information will be entered into the ILUCP Directory.

2. To remain in good standing all DBE firms are required to submit a No Change Affidavit.

a. Must be submitted to affirm that there have been no changes in the firm’s circumstances affecting its ability to meet size, disadvantaged status, ownership, or control requirements or any other material changes in the information provided in the firm’s application for certification.

b. 60 days before the No Change Affidavit is due, you will receive a letter from our office notifying you of the due date and required documents to submit.

3. During the period that a firm is certified, the firm must provide written notification of any changes within thirty (30) days of the occurrence of the change.

4. Become a Registered Vendor with Metra. The process is free and simple. By submitting your contact information and your company’s services/goods online at metrarail.com you will receive notification of upcoming IFBs and RFPs that match your submission.

a. Visit metrarail.com
b. Select the Metra & Business page on the blue menu bar
c. Select “Register Now” under the Metra Vendor heading
d. Select “Get Started” to begin the registration process and submit

5. Attend training and networking events. Marketing and growing your business are essential to maximizing your certification. Visit OBDCR’s outreach calendar for an up to date list of upcoming events.

What are my appeal rights if I am denied DBE certification?

Any firm or complainant may appeal our decision in writing to:
U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Civil Rights
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Rm. W78-340
Washington, DC 20590

 
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