State officials recently announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is aiming to increase opportunities for Small Business Enterprises (SBE) through a new pilot program where SBEs can compete to work as prime consultants on federally assisted engineering and design agreements on at least six projects.
The Small Business Set Aside pilot program currently includes preliminary engineering and final design for three projects: a bridge replacement over South Witmer Run on Rte. 3005 in Irvona Borough, Clearfield County; a bridge replacement over Marshall Run on Rte. 3007 in Conemaugh Township, Indiana County; and replacing a bridge over Leaf Creek on Rte. 2057 in Amity and Douglass townships, Berks County. At least three more projects will be advertised to the private sector this fall. The department will evaluate how many SBEs submit a statement of interest, whether a contract is awarded to an SBE and work results. The department may expand the program in the future depending on the pilot-program results.
There are currently 413 businesses certified by PennDOT as an SBE. SBEs must meet U.S. Small Business Administration size standards and submit a completed application to PennDOT for certification to participate in federally assisted transportation projects.
Under the pilot program, an SBE must be the prime consultant on the agreement, however other companies can be added as sub-consultants. Interested SBEs must perform at least 50% of the contracted work and must be registered as a business partner in the department's Engineering and Construction Management System (ECMS). ECMS will be used for firms to present qualifications and submit a statement of interest.