Yesterday, the House of Representatives – by a wide margin- passed the “Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act of 2015.” Simply put, the Bill amends the DOT DBE regulations to include veteran owned small businesses (VOSB) within the definition of disadvantaged businesses. If this Bill is signed into law, this means that VOSB’s could be used towards a prime contractors DBE hiring goal on projects receiving any form of DOT funding assistance.
This change in the law is something I have long petitioned for. This Bill opens the door to lucrative subcontracts to veteran owned businesses. By creating a new pool of eligible firms, the Bill also helps prime contractors, who often struggle to meet qualified minority and women owned firms, in meeting their DBE subcontractor goals.
While the federal government has long maintained rules giving preference to veteran owned firms, the breadth of those rules was limited mainly to construction projects owned by the Veteran’s Administration. This Bill gives veteran owned firms preference on any project receiving some form of funding through the DOT. These project include airports, transmit systems, and highway projects.