Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, today, along with 33 minority Members of Congress, I am introducing critical legislation that will address the lack of a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
Including Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) language in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill will ensure that minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses are getting their fair share of federal transportation dollars. Federal transportation spending has historically served as a crucial means of empowering socially disadvantaged businesses. Thanks to the efforts of the Black, Hispanic, and Asian-Pacific Congressional Caucus' and a bipartisan group of Members on the House Transportation Committee, every major transportation bill since 1983 has mandated minimum levels of participation by minority and/or women owned companies.
Unfortunately, because the Federal Railroad Administration has not historically been a significant grant-making agency, it is not currently authorized to require opportunities for disadvantaged businesses. Without this authority, the FRA is limited in their ability to ensure that disadvantaged businesses are provided an even playing field.