Small and Disadvantaged Business Programs

In accordance with USDOT 49 CFR Part 26, U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 13 CFR Part 121, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board of Directors, WMATA administers three small business certification programs that encourage participation in our agency's contracting opportunities: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program, and Small Business Local Preference Program (SBLPP). Only the participation of firms certified by WMATA for these programs can be counted towards satisfaction of DBE, SBE, and SBLPP contract goals. For any questions about the programs or prompt payment questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

WMATA's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program offers two types of initial application processes: Home State Certification and Interstate Certification. In support of Metro's sustainability initiatives, all applications and forms must be e-filed. Paper documents are not accepted.  For any questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

Home State Certification applies to firms located within WMATA's transit zone in accordance with the agency's jurisdictional compact agreement. WMATA's transit zone has been defined as the District of Columbia, the suburban Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George's, the Northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, & Loudoun, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church.

Interstate Certification applies to firms located outside of WMATA's transit zone. In accordance with 49 CFR Part 26.85, when a firm is currently certified in its home state and applies for DBE certification with WMATA, the following streamlined procedures are applicable:

1) Firm must be certified as a DBE in its home state and make sure that their information is displayed accurately on the home state's DBE directory.

2) Firm may seek DBE certification with WMATA by providing a written request on company letterhead along with a copy of their certification notice from its home state.

3) WMATA will confirm that the firm has a current valid certification from its home state by reviewing the electronic directory of the firm's home state or obtaining written confirmation from the home state certifying agency.


WMATA's Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program, in accordance with 49 CFR part 26.39: Fostering Small Business Participation, promotes the agency's intent to set aside selected federally funded contracts with a total value of less than $500,000. DBE firms certified under the Metropolitan Washington Unified Certification Program (MWUCP - WMATA or its partner agency the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT)) will automatically be certified into the SBE program unless submitting a statement in writing the preference to opt out. For any questions about the programs or prompt payment questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

WMATA's Small Business Local Preference Program (SBLPP) program, as mandated by Metro's Board of Directors and managed by the Department of Fair Practices, was established in 2005 to enhance contracting opportunities for small businesses in the District of Columbia, State of Maryland, and Commonwealth of Virginia. The program targets and gives preference to qualified small businesses in the procurement of goods and services when Metro awards contracts for non-federally funded purchases of $150,000 or less (simplified acquisition process). For any questions about the programs or prompt payment questions, please email at DBEHotline@wmata.com.

Frequently asked questions for each certification program can be found at WMATA's Supplier Portal.

Applying for a new DBE, SBE, or SBLPP certification is a two-step process:

  1. Register: As a supplier, register using WMATA's Supplier Portal. A temporary password will be sent to the email provided during registration.
  2. Apply for Certification: Sign-In using your User Id and Password into WMATA's Supplier Portal. Navigate to: Manage Events and Place Bids > My Certification page > Add a New Value. For detailed instructions, see the user guide.
  3. If you have issues applying for certification, send an email to DBEHotline@wmata.com for further assistance.

Small Business Certification Vendor Directory

WMATA publishes an online directory of vendors certified in the DBE, SBE, and SBLPP programs that provides information regarding available small business firms in the fields of construction, goods and services, and other fields when applicable. The database is continuously updated as small business certifications are approved. To search for DBE, SBE, and/or SBLPP certified vendors, go to WMATA's Supplier Portal. Suppliers experiencing difficulties in locating certified firms in the vendor directory may send an email to DBEhotline@wmata.com for further assistance.