DOT funds small business recovery with recovery funds


I recently reported that the Small Business Administration and the Commerce Department were planning to participate in more than 200 events boost small businesses contracting under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

But it looks like those agencies aren’t the only ones working to ensure small businesses benefit from stimulus spending. The Transportation Department announced today that it has dedicated $20 million in Recovery Act funds to create a “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Bonding Assistance Program.”

The program, which is run by the department’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization, allows small and disadvantaged businesses to apply for reimbursements for the bonding premiums and fees they pay when competing for transportation infrastructure projects, according to a department news release.

The program will help small and disadvantaged businesses better compete for Recovery Act-funded transportation projects by helping them get access to the money they need to participate in government contracting.

“These Recovery dollars will help level the playing field so these companies have the tools and resources they need to compete,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in the news release.

The announcements come just as SBA reported that agencies missed their 23 percent small business spending goal for the third year running. Last year, agencies spent approximately $94 billion, or 21.5 percent, of their contracting dollars through small businesses. The Obama administration said it hoped to reach those goals through improved education and outreach to small businesses and federal agencies.

For those readers who want to know when and where SBA and Commerce are holding or participating in events, I’m told SBA is compiling the list and will post it on the SBA Web site soon.


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