FRA to conduct federal funding disparity study for minority, women-owned businesses

April 13, 2021

The study seeks to determine whether the playing field is level for firms aspiring to win subcontracts

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is conducting a first-of-its-kind nationwide small, minority-owned, and woman-owned business disparity study.

The study seeks to determine whether the playing field is level for firms aspiring to win subcontracts from grantees receiving federal funds administered by the agency.

“We are firmly committed to increasing equity across the American economy and ensuring that women and minority-owned businesses have a fair shot at contracting opportunities funded by federal dollars,” FRA Acting Administrator Amit Bose said in a statement. “Assessing the current extent of DBE and WBE inclusion, and if any disparities exist, is necessary to accomplish this goal.”

FRA in 2020 awarded more than $1 billion in grants for freight and passenger projects through the numerous discretionary and competitive funding programs authorized by Congress.

The FRA will conduct a survey to determine the availability and use of small, minority-owned, and woman-owned businesses in the publicly funded railroad landscape. FRA will submit the results to Congress in a report, allowing members to determine the need for a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program at FRA.

To perform the survey, FRA contracted with Jack Faucett Associates and the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC), which have distributed 22,000 surveys and expects to send an additional 8,000 surveys.

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SOURCE: Federal Railroad Administration