Questions surrounding disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) and their participation in the S.R. 99 tunnel project in Seattle were addressed by the Federal Highway Administration on Nov. 1.
The FHWA released a report in response to a DBE complaint, and concluded that the Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), the design-builder for the project, “created barriers and hardships for DBE firms trying to participate in the program and those actions don’t conform to good faith efforts.”
“We take the findings in the FHWA report very seriously,” Washington State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said in a statement. “DBE participation under the STP contract has been an issue of concern for WSDOT, and we have regularly communicated to STP our dissatisfaction with current efforts.”
Peterson and her staff are still reviewing the FHWA report, and when ready WSDOT will determine what actions are available and appropriate under the terms of the contract with STP in light of the FHWA findings. Peterson said she also is in ongoing discussions with FHWA over the matter.
Peterson also is working with the Washington Attorney General’s office in an attempt to hire a third party to review the FHWA findings and suggest next steps for the tunnel project.