As a veteran owned small business – VOSB, we are finding it extremely difficult to compete for work in the engineering and construction industry as it relates to the FHWA transportation program for roadway design and construction. In the state of Florida, they utilize a disadvantaged business enterprise program recognized by the small business administration to assist startup companies that fit that description. There is no provision or assistance to returning veterans to be part of the FHWA transportation improvement program. The federal procurement program for work does from time to time identify goals to contract with the VOSB and SDVOSB firms on a contract-by-contract basis for agency. Routinely this has been a goal of between 3% and 6%. However there is no provision in the DBE program to recognize that turn on businesses and veterans have no way of getting a helping hand to be part of design or construction of the transportation infrastructure funded by the federal government for the states.
The request here is to identify both veteran and service disabled small businesses VOSB/SDVOSB to either be part of the DBE program by inclusion, or run a separate but parallel contracting program to the DBE program by the State for contracting with veterans on federally funded transportation design and construction work. It should have a goal of 3 to 6% similar to other federal agencies, USACOE, DOD, NAVFAC, etc. The problem is that the State of Florida has no way of recognizing veterans and their DBE program related to FHWA transportation funding, because the SBA does not recognize VOSB/SDVOSB as a disadvantaged entity . If they did, it would provide returning veterans with the opportunity of starting their own consulting or construction business and creating jobs for other veterans and the American citizens. Somehow, we need to find a solution to this problem so returning vets have helping hand in starting up their businesses as part of the FHWA transportation initiative across the country as well as Florida. Let's find a way to make this happen for America.