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Regional Transportation Authority
Availability Study

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The Regional Transportaion Authority (RTA) is conducting an Availability Study for its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs to ensure that disadvantaged businesses have equal access to contracting opportunities and that current programs remain legally defensible and administratively successful.

An Availability Study involves compilation of evidence to determine how the agency should narrowly tailor its programs, including the use of any race- and gender-conscious remedies.

The study will determine the availability of diverse firms in RTA’s marketplace, and further examine factors necessary for entrepreneurial success, such as access to business capital, bonding, networks, suppliers, etc. It will also gather anecdotal evidence of any continuing effects of past or present race and sex discrimination, and the impact of the current DBE programs. Another important component is a review of RTA’s current DBE efforts and recommendations for future initiatives and enhancements.

Following a competitive proposal process, the contract for this Study has been awarded to Colette Holt & Associates, a nationally recognized expert team on disparity studies and D/M/WBE programs, in conjunction with local partner Sandi Llano & Associates, Inc.

How can you be involved?  The participation of business owners is critical to the Study’s outcomes in two important ways. First, the Study team will contact businesses to confirm information on specific contracts and/or to receive additional contract information that is currently not available or accessible to RTA. With the support and assistance of business owners, the Study will present an accurate analysis of RTA’s contracting activities. Second, interested persons can be part of the process for anecdotal data collection by participating in a focus group of business owners to share experiences and insights.

In the coming months, business owner interviews will be held at a convenient location. To learn about sessions pertinent to your type of business, please email Colette Holt & Associates at rta_study@mwbelaw.com.

Anecdotal evidence. It is very important that all firms and stakeholders, such as industry organizations, community groups and chambers of commerce with an interest in RTA’s DBE Program and contracting activities participate in the Study’s anecdotal data collection. The information generated from these sessions will be an important component of the analysis of whether the DBE programs remain narrowly tailored.

Contract data. Since governments such as RTA often only maintain contracting records related to contract compliance reporting, the consultant must rely on prime firms to supplement RTA’s contract data. This information is critical to developing an accurate analysis of the utilization of DBEs on RTA projects.

Some firms will be contacted to provide such data. Colette Holt & Associates will work with the firms to make the process as easy as possible.