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Home > Business Center > Small Business and DBE

Small Business and DBE

When choosing vendors and suppliers to work with us, the RTA strives to establish a level playing field for the various businesses that compete for the taxpayer dollars we spend. So we can achieve this goal, we participate in two programs that help level the playing field: the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) and a small business program called the State and Local DBE Program (SLDBE). 

Your business might qualify for both programs. Still, keep in mind that these two programs are separate. They use separate forms, application processes, and certification standards. The agencies that award the certifications are also different. 

The DBE Program is for projects funded by federal money. The SLDBE Program is for projects funded by state and local money. The RTA lists project advertisements on our Procurement page, and the cover sheet of each advertisement will say if that particular projects falls under the DBE Program or the SLDBE Program.

DBE Program

The RTA’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program was established in accordance with 49 Code of Federal Regulation Part 26 and is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as a condition of receiving federal assistance. 

In other words, certain RTA projects are funded by federal tax dollars. In order to receive that funding, the DOT requires that the RTA spends a certain percentage of that funding on DBE-certified businesses. The purpose of the DBE Program is to mitigate the adverse effects of discrimination. 

You may qualify for the DBE certification if:

  • Your firm is at least 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual (or individuals) who also controls the firm.
  • The disadvantaged owner is a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States.
  • Your firm is a small business that meets the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) size standard and does not exceed $17.42 million in gross annual receipts.
  • Your firm organized as a for-profit business.

For DBE certification, the State of Louisiana has developed a Unified Certification Plan containing the definitions, requirements, process, and forms to be used by a number of certifying agencies. The RTA is one of those certifying agencies. 

Please use the PDF forms below and follow their instructions to apply for DBE Certification through the RTA. Once you have applied for and received DBE certification, you can bid on RTA projects as a DBE supplier.

Small Business Program

The RTA’s Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program is open to all business owners regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.  To be an eligible Small Business Enterprise a business must have a least 51% ownership by a person who is economically disadvantaged. To be considered economically disadvantaged the individual’s Personal Net Worth, not including their primary place of residence or ownership in the business cannot exceed $1.32 million in compliance with the 49 CFR Part 26.67.  An SBE business owner must be a U.S. Citizen or lawfully permanent resident of the U.S.

Additionally, the business must be for-profit and must meet the annual gross receipts  cap of $17.42 million as defined in 49 CFR Part 26 and must meet the size criteria defined by the Small Business Administration. SBE size standards can be accessed at

Businesses that are currently Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certified with the Louisiana Unified Certification Program (LAUCP) must submit an SBE Affidavit of Certification Eligibility. Businesses that are owned by minorities or women and that are not currently DBE certified must submit a complete DBE Certification application with all supporting documentation. The DBE certification will automatically certify a business as an eligible DBE.

Please note that effective February 1, 2012 certification by the State/Local Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (SLDBE) program for the City of New Orleans or the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) does not automatically qualify the firm for either DBE or SBE status with the RTA. Small and Disadvantaged businesses seeking to participate in the RTA’s DBE or SBE programs must have DBE certification through the LAUCP and/or the SBE certification through the RTA.

Please use the forms below and follow their instructions to apply for SBE Certification through the RTA. Once you have applied for and received SBE certification, you can bid on RTA projects as a SBE supplier.

The SBE Program is used for both federally and non-federally funded procurement projects at the RTA.  As such, once your business is certified as an SBE you can bid on both federal and state/local projects  as a small business.

For more information on the RTA’s Small Business Enterprise program contact the Office of Small Business Development at 504-827-8408.


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