Interstate Certification 49 C.F.R. §26.85
What is the purpose of the interstate certification rule?
In response to longstanding concerns of DBEs, the interstate certification provision is designed to make the certification process easier on recipients and certified DBEs. The DBE program is a national program, and administrative obstacles to certification undermine important program objectives.
The rule furthers several fundamental objectives of the DBE program—(1) facilitating the ability of DBE firms to compete for DOT-assisted contracting, (2) reducing administrative burdens and costs on the small businesses that seek to pursue contracting opportunities in other states, and
(3) fostering greater consistency and uniformity in the application of certification requirements—while maintaining program integrity.
The Department strongly reiterates that the ultimate purpose of the interstate certification rule is to facilitate certification of currently certified firms in other jurisdictions. Accordingly, interstate certification is not automatic reciprocity in the sense that each state must honor the other states’ certification decisions without review.
Rather, the rule creates a rebuttable presumption such that a firm certified in its home state (State A) is eligible to be certified in other states in which it applies.
Thus, the subsequent certifier’s review is limited to specifically enumerated items in the rule. The rule creates a bright-line distinction between applications for interstate certification and applications for initial certification.
For further discussion of the Department’s general views on the interstate certification provisions, please see the preamble to the final rule establishing this regulation: Office of the Secretary, “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise: Program Improvements,” 76 Fed. Reg. 5083, 5087-89 (Jan. 28, 2011),