July 20, 2023

House Passes Castro/Salazar Amendment to Improve Transparency and Opportunity in Federal Transit Contracting

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (FL-27) that will improve transparency and opportunity within the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which aims to level the playing field for small businesses competing for federally-funded transit contracts. The legislation, introduced as Amendment 13 to H.R. 3935, will specifically require the Department of Transportation to make publicly available the Uniform Report of DBE Commitments and Award Payments for sponsors of airport projects beginning with fiscal year 2024.

“Since the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law in 2021, billions of dollars in funding have been invested in transit projects, creating jobs across the country,” said Rep. Castro. “As these opportunities continue to open up, it’s important to make sure federal funds are equitably distributed among contractors of all backgrounds. This amendment will improve transparency within the DBE program, allowing for increased accountability in distributing economic opportunity across the transportation industry, including within San Antonio’s own infrastructure projects.”

“Increasing transparency is essential to ensure Disadvantaged Business Enterprise awards are effective and accomplish its mission to improve U.S. transportation” said Rep. Salazar. “I am proud to work with my colleague, Representative Joaquin Castro, to get this policy included in the Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill.”

In February 2023, Congressman Castro, along with Representatives Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), announced they secured $20 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to expand operations and capacity at the San Antonio International Airport. Participants in the DBE program will be eligible to be contracted for some of that work.

The objective of the DBE program is to provide a fair opportunity for socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses in transportation contracting markets nationwide.

To view the full text of the amendment, click here.