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Availability and Disparity Study, California Department of Transportation, Final Report

August 2012

Published by BBC Research & Consulting

California’s Department of Transportation conducted a disparity study that provided information to help implement the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program for its FHWA‐funded contracts. Based on the results, about one‐third of firms identified as available prime contractors and subcontractors on Caltrans construction. The report stated that there was quantitative evidence of disparities for minority and women‐owned firms as a whole, and for specific groups, concerning issues (i.e., entry and advancement, business ownership, access to capital, bonding and insurance, success of business). Qualitative information indicated some evidence of discrimination affecting the local marketplace, although some minority and female business owners interviewed in this and other recent disparity studies did not think they had been affected by any race or gender discrimination. Minority and women‐owned businesses considered together showed substantial disparities on both FHWA‐funded contracts (disparity index of 74) and state‐funded contracts (disparity index of 46). Disparity analysis results by individual racial/ethnic and gender groups indicated that most individual groups showed substantial disparities on FHWA‐funded contracts and procurements. The exceptions were non‐Hispanic white women‐owned businesses (disparity index of 121) and Native American‐owned businesses (disparity index of 83). Minority and women‐owned businesses also faced substantial difficulties accessing business credit.