Gov. Brown’s recent signing of Assembly Bill 2690, by State Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, creates new opportunities for small and disabled veteran businesses to compete for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) construction contracts.
The new law will help level the playing field for such firms, a move that will bolster their participation in the agency’s multi-billion dollar contracting opportunities every year.
Metro is now authorized to require bidders to include subcontracting opportunities for small and disabled veteran business enterprises as a condition of award on non-federally funded construction-related “Public Works” projects. Specifically, Metro will only award contracts to the lowest responsible bidder meeting the agency’s Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) participation goals. Bidders that fail to meet the SBE/DVBE goals will be ineligible to receive a contract. Prior to the passing of the law, such goals were voluntary on construction-related contracts.
Additionally, the law authorizes Metro to set-aside contracts ranging from $5,000 to $3 million for competition only among Metro-certified SBE firms, and can award contracts to the lowest responsible bidder. Metro-certified SBE firms can now compete among similar-sized firms and win Public Works contracts such as construction, demolition, or repair work as prime contractors on low bid contracts. The law goes into effect January 1, 2017.
“This new law enables Metro to expand the range of tools to encourage the small business community to contract with Metro,” said John Fasana, Duarte City Council Member and Metro Board Chair. “We typically issue between $2 billion and $5 billion in contracts a year, so this new legislation is essential to our agency’s future procurement strategy as we seek to increase small business competition. I’d like to thank Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas and the Metro Board for advocating for this important piece of legislation.”
In January 2014, the Metro Board approved an agency-wide Small Business Set-Aside Program. Now completing its second official year of operation, Metro’s “Small Business Prime Program” awards have increased 74 percent from $9.6 million in fiscal year 2015 to $16.7 million in fiscal year 2016. A record $9 million in Small Business Enterprise prime contracts were awarded in the fourth quarter alone.
“Metro is now leading an infrastructure revolution here in Los Angeles County. We want to make sure that we can provide the best contracting opportunities possible for our small business community,” said Phil Washington, Metro CEO. “Working together, all of us can help transform the transportation system in our region.”
Metro is the largest transportation agency in California. The agency is responsible for programming transportation funds, planning, construction and operation of the county’s transportation system.
The new law is a welcome news for Metro-certified L.A. Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and Los Angeles Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) who will now have better chances at bidding for – and landing! – L.A. Metro’s contracting projects.
For more information about Metro’s Small Business Set-Aside Program, visit Metro’s Vendor Portal webpage at www.metro.net/business.