The U.S. Dept. of Transportation said on May 7 that it is proposing changes in its requirements for disadvantaged-business-enterprise firms (DBEs), which include small companies owned by women and minorities. The last highway-transit authorization, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users and other statutes, set a goal of having at least 10% of the federal funds for highways, transit and airport construction go to small businesses controlled by those who are "socially and economically disadvantaged." The proposed rule, to be published in the Federal Register on May 10, would increase the ceiling on a DBE
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.