L.A. Metro launches pilot program for SBE, DBE, and DVBE firms

Posted on March 20, 2018

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) implemented a one-year pilot program to assist Metro-certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, (DBE) and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) firms secure sufficient bonding to work on Metro construction projects.

Metro will provide a bonding guarantee to qualified SBE, DBE, and DVBE firms to expand their bonding capacity on Metro construction contracts as a prime contractor or subcontractors. The bonding program is applicable to all Metro construction contracts that require bonding.

The $1.3 million Contractor Development and Bonding Program (CDBP) will enable qualified entrepreneurs to successfully compete for construction-related contracts.

Metro is responding to concerns expressed by small business communities, who have noted that obtaining bonding for small contractors is deemed a barrier to participate in the agency’s construction contracts.

“Measure M is creating opportunities, and we want everyone to access them at this time of extraordinary growth,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “This program helps us make sure that all businesses --- especially those that may have previously been overlooked --- are part of the historic expansion of our transportation network.”

The CDBP will be managed by Metro’s Diversity and Economic Opportunity Department and will be administered by Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services (MWIS).

Some of the firms that apply for Metro construction contracts are willing and able to bid, compete for, work, and complete public works construction contracts but are unable to do so due to the inability to secure the required bonding, or because they cannot meet the strict financial requirements demanded by financial institutions.

This new initiative is the latest effort by Metro to increase small business participation on Metro projects.

“The adoption of the pilot Metro Contractor Development and Bonding Program is yet another effort to create economic opportunities for small businesses,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Building local contracting capacity is critical to enabling robust competition on Metro’s contracts.”

The program will require that participants be assessed and put through a strict evaluation process in order to determine the contractor’s credit worthiness. MWIS will assess the contractors.

The program will be available to all SBE/DBE/DVBE contractors and subcontractors and is applicable to all Metro construction contracts that require bonding. In addition, the pilot program will convene a series of in-depth clinics and contractor training programs tailored to Metro’s unique construction program.

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