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Can the Federal Transportation DBE Program Be Narrowly Tailored to Remedy Discrimination?

By George R. La Noue
October 01, 2007
The federal transportation Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program is a relic from another era that no longer serves a civil rights purpose. DBE is the progeny of the 10% minority set-aside provision in the 1977 Public Works Employment Act (PWEA). That Congress was responding to a temporary economic downturn and the 1968 Kerner Commission, which highlighted the special plight of African-Americans. Creating a share for them and other minority communities seemed like an important part of overall economic pump-priming....