The Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico acting through the Secretary of Transportation, hereby expresses its commitment to support the policy of providing the fullest possible participation of firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in programs and projects receiving assistance under the DOT programs. It is the policy of the PRHTA that no person shall be excluded from participation, denied the benefits of, or otherwise discriminated against in relation with the award and performance of any contract covered by this Program, on the grounds of race, color, sex, or national origin. In this regard, the PRHTA is committed to a program of providing equal opportunity and affirmative action to disadvantaged business enterprises as defined under DOT's Regulation. Implementation of the DBE Program by the PRHTA is a legal obligation and failure to carry out its terms shall be treated as a violation whereby sanctions may be imposed as provided under 49 CFR Part 26. In administering the DBE Program, the PRHTA shall not use criteria or methods that would have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishments of the objectives of the program with respect to individuals of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin.
The PRHTA DBE Policy Statement will be circulated through the Department among its personnel in the different levels of supervision as well as local governmental units, business organizations, the DBE and non-DBE business communities that perform work for us on DOT assisted contract and to the general public. This Policy Statement shall be published through the appropriate media and fully incorporated into the procurement process. From time to time PRHTA shall receive interpretations from USDOT, which shall be binding on PRHTA, sub-recipients, and contractors.
The purpose of the program is to implement the provision of 49 CFR Part 26, other pertinent regulations, and source legislation. These objectives are:
a. To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of USDOT-assisted contracts in the USDOT's highway, transit, and airport financial assistance programs;
b. To create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for USDOT- assisted contracts;
c. To ensure that USDOT's DBE program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;
d. To ensure that only firms that fully meet the eligibility standards specified in 49 CFR Part 26 are permitted to participate as DBEs;
e. To help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in USDOT-assisted contract;
f. To assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program; and,
g. To provide appropriate flexibility to recipient of federal financial assistance in establishing and providing opportunities for DBEs.
The PRHTA shall work to establish a level playing field for DBE contractors to compete for federally assisted highway construction and transportation projects as prime contractors, subcontractors and consultants. It is intended to provide opportunities to DBEs so they can graduate from the DBE program and perform as prime or as subcontractors without DBE program assistance.
Ana A. Olivencia, Esq., Director of Civil Rights Office, has been delegated as the DBE Liaison Officer. In this capacity Ana A. Olivencia or her designee is responsible for implementing all aspects of the DBE Program. Implementation of the DBE Program is accorded the same priority as compliance with all other legal obligations incurred by the PRTHA in its financial assistance agreements with the Department of Transportation.
As Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority, I have distributed this Policy Statement to DBE and non-DBE business communities that perform work for us on DOT-assisted contracts throught the general media to all department key personnel and bureaus.
Rubén A. Hernández Gregorat, MEM, PE
Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority
Date: February 18, 2009