Sound Transit is committed to eliminating barriers, creating opportunities and building capacity for underrepresented and women-owned businesses to ensure businesses building our regional transit system represent the communities we serve.
The Economic Development Division, within the Office of Civil Rights Equity and Inclusion (CREI), champions Sound Transit’s contracting equity and inclusion commitments through the administration of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Small Business as well as associated initiatives.
It is Sound Transit’s commitment to assure that all procurements and contracts are administered without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex or national origin, and that DBEs have an equal opportunity to compete for and participate in the performance of all agreements, contracts, and subcontracts awarded by Sound Transit or its contractors.
Moreover, it is the policy of Sound Transit to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin in the award and administration of federally-funded contracts. It is the intention of Sound Transit to create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for agreements, contracts and subcontracts, including but not limited to construction, procurement and proposal contracts, professional and technical services agreements, and purchase orders.
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program
A DBE is a for-profit small business that is at least 51% owned by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. For details on additional criteria based on personal net worth and business size standards, please visit the "Do You Qualify as a DBE?" page of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Civil Rights website.
How does my business become a DBE?
In Washington State, you must be certified through the Washington State Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises. Please visit OMWBE's website for additional information.
Prime and subcontractor outreach coordinator information
Need to connect with a Prime Contractor? View our Prime and subcontractor outreach coordinator information.
DBE program goals
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has received and reviewed Sound Transit’s triennial goal setting methodology for Federal Fiscal Years (FFY) 2023-2025. This DBE goal will be effective October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2025:
- Sound Transit's 2023-25 DBE goal is 18.17%
To view Sound Transit’s (FFY) 2023-2025 goals and methodology, access the document below:
Comments, feedback, and questions may be submitted through March 31, 2023 via: civilrightsDBE@soundtransit.org.
DBE program objectives
- Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of federally-funded contracts.
- Create a level playing field where DBEs can compete fairly for federally funded contracts.
- Help remove barriers to DBE participation in the bidding, award, and administration of Sound Transit contracts.
- Assist in the development of DBEs so they can compete successfully in the market outside of the DBE program.
- Ensure that only firms that fully meet the eligibility standards of 49 CFR Part 26 are permitted to participate as DBEs.
- Ensure that the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law.
- Identify business enterprises that are qualified as DBEs and are qualified to provide Sound Transit with required materials, equipment, supplies and services; and to develop a good rapport with the owners and management of those enterprises. This will include DBE round tables, DBE notification by electronic notices and networking sessions.
- Develop communication programs and procedures that will acquaint prospective DBEs with Sound Transit contract procedures, activities and requirements that allow DBEs to provide Sound Transit with feedback regarding existing barriers to participation and effective procedures to eliminate those barriers;
- Administer the DBE Program in close coordination with the various Sound Transit departments so as to facilitate the successful implementation of this Program;
- Foster participation by small businesses by implementing the strategies set forth in this DBE Program; and
- Promote the use of all types of DBEs.
DBE/small business technical assistance
Sound Transit's Office of Civil Rights, Equity and Inclusion believes in leveling the playing field for all qualified consultants and contractors. It is our mission to help develop emerging and established Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and small businesses (SBs) so they can successfully compete on Sound Transit contracts. The agency's 25-year capital expansion program and state of good repair projects means the time to build DBE/SB capacity is now.
Through a needs assessment survey and interviews with primes, small businesses, internal staff and business organizations, we have identified training topics and other training considerations. The Office of Civil Rights, Equity and Inclusion has also identified partnering opportunities for select trainings and agency-specific trainings hosted by Sound Transit.
Learn more about certification through King County Small Contractors and Suppliers (SCS) or Washington State Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE). You may also access the Sound Transit, King County SCS and OMWBE Certification Presentation (July 2023).
Sound Transit also partners with other organizations such as the USDOT Small Business Transportation Resource Center- Northwest Region and the Minority Business Development Agency-Tacoma Business Center to sponsor technical assistance opportunities.
Sound Transit's technical assistance program focuses on providing trainings that are meaningful and applicable to our contracts. Our trainings also offer valuable networking to help DBE/SBs build their network of associates.
Technical Assistance Programs Past Events:
- Construction Business School 2021 Opportunities
Upcoming Networking/Matchmaking sessions with Women Business Enterprise Center Pacific:
WBEC Pacific is hosting several industry events on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the months of September and October. The series is open to corporations and will kick off on Sept. 14th.
Each session will begin at 1 p.m. with an industry outlook, an expert panel, followed by targeted matchmaking. Learn more
What is the Capacity Building Mentorship Program (CBMP)?
The WSDOT/Sound Transit Capacity Building Mentorship Program was created in response to the Governor's diverse business participation Results Washington Goals, as follows:
- Minority Business Enterprise 10%
- Small Businesses 5%
- Veteran-owned Businesses 5%
- Women's Business Enterprise 6%
Capacity Building Mentorship Program (CBMP)
The program's mission is to support and build capacity for underrepresented firms in obtaining contracts aligned with their availability on transportation projects.
The Capacity Building Mentorship Program pairs successful prime contractors and prime consultants (mentors) with diverse businesses (protégés) wanting to do business on public works projects in Washington state.
How can I be part of the Capacity Building Mentorship Program (CBMP)?
Firms certified by the Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises, or registered as a small or veteran's businesses in Washington's Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) are eligible to participate in this program as Protégés.
To participate as a Mentor, you must have been a prime contractor or consultant with WSDOT and/or Sound Transit in the recent past.
Capacity Building Mentorship Program Updates
- Capacity Building Mentorship Program | Program Update | August 2021
- Capacity Building Mentorship Program | Program Update | June 2020
- Capacity Building Mentorship Program | Participant Directory | March 2020
- Capacity Building Mentorship Program | Quarterly Update | February 2020
- Capacity Building Mentorship Program | Quarterly Update | June 2019
- Capacity Building Mentorship Program | FAQ | March 2019