Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time all participants are in a listen only mode. During the question and answer session, please press star 1 on your touchtone phone. Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections you may disconnect at this time.
Now I will turn the call over to Mr. (Ed Cafiero). You may begin.
Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us. My name is (Ed Cafiero) from U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. I’d like to talk to you today about the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Bonding Assistance Reimbursable Fee Program.
Before we begin some small introductions, I’d like to turn it over to (Candace Groudine) of FHWA.
Okay thank you (Ed). Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us today it’s - for today’s Webinar on the (DBE) (ARRA) Bonding Assistance Program.
I’m (Candace Groudine) of Federal Highways, director of External Civil Rights Programs sitting in for (Allen Masuda), our associate administrator for civil rights who could not be here today.
So before we get started I want to introduce a few people both from Federal Highway Administration as well as the Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization who are with us today.
From FHWA, (Greg Nadeau), FWHA’s deputy administrator who will be making a few remarks as we begin the Webinar. And from OSDBU, (Leonardo San Roman), deputy director of OSDBU, (Ester Lehman), OSDBU’s financial advisor, (Ed Cafiero), OSDBU’s business enterprise development officer, (Nancy Strine), manager of OSDBU’s financial assistance program and (Art Jackson), manager of OSDBU’s regional partnership division.
And now I’d like to introduce (Greg Nadeau) who will say a few words on behalf of FHWA.
|(Greg Nadeau):||Thank you (Candace) and good afternoon. I want to thank you all for registering for this important Webinar about an exciting new program designed to help DBEs compete successfully for federally assisted (transportation) contracts.
This new program was announced by Secretary of Transportation, (LaHood), on August 31, 2009 and it’s been no secret that the Secretary has placed a high priority on our achieving excellence with regard to these programs. And as Administrator (Victor Mendez) has shared and it should be no surprise - that enthusiasm.
It’s a program where DBEs can apply to be reimbursed for bonding premiums and fees incurred when performing on transportation infrastructure) projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
This is also a program, as we’ll hear from our colleagues, at the OSDBU today, that will be especially helpful for businesses that traditionally have less access to working capital to compete for contracts.
Federal Highway is working closely with OSDBU to promote this program. As part of it’s stewardship role, Federal Highway is committed to helping DBEs compete on a level playing field for federal highway contracts to provide assistance and service to DBEs certified in the DBE program in order to increase their activity in the programs and to facilitate businesses, development of viable self-sufficient organizations capable of competing for and performing on federally assisted projects.
I would now like to turn the microphone, as it were, over to (Ed Cafiero) from OSDBU who will address a number of topics about this (very) DBE assistance program that is sure to be of interest to the DBE community and I look forward to hearing some very insightful information and participating in this Webinar as well.
So again, thank you all for registering and being participants. This is important work. And I’m impressed by the number of folks who have signed on today. So your commitment and your assistance in delivering these important resources to DBE contracting is very much appreciated.
Thank you very much and here’s (Ed).
||Thank you very much (Greg). We prepared a presentation for everybody today to go through the specifics for this reimbursable fee program and we’ll definitely have a question and answer portion at the end of our presentation. So please save your questions for that time and we’ll do our best to answer them.
I’d also like to pass along greetings from (Brandon Neal) who is the OSDBU director. He couldn’t be with us today but we certainly appreciate Federal Highway’s help in rolling out this program as well as, you know, all of you participating. It’s great to see such a strong participation across the board.
And good morning to some and I guess good afternoon to others across the country.
So if we could go ahead and begin, I’d like to briefly go over the program today. And (Greg), thank you. I think you touched on sort of the main points of this program.
The authority for the Bonding Assistance Reimbursable Fee Program does come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That was put into law in February. This program is for disadvantaged business enterprises that are working on ARRA funded, transportation infrastructure related programs.
And the award that’s going to be given is a cost reimbursement for the fees that DBEs on Recovery Act related programs pay to secure bonds for those programs.
And I would like to pass the mike over to our deputy director, (Leo San Roman) who will go over the types of bonds and some more program specifics.
|(Leo San Roman):
||Thank you (Ed). Thank you everybody for joining us today. Although we understand there are many types of bonds in reconstruction, we have to limit the number of bonds in this program to (three).
There are bid bonds, payment bonds and performance bonds. I’m just going to go over a little bit of all the three types of bonds so you understand a little bit more.
The bid bond is the one that guarantees that the bidder on a contract maintains the contract and furnishes the required payment on performance bonds. We’re being told that the range of the fees go between $50 to $500 so we don’t actually take that many applications for those bonds but if the DBE wants to get reimbursed for those fees, we’ll be more then glad to process the application.
Then we have the payment and performance bonds which are where most of the big fees are charged to the DBEs.
Payment bond is payment from the contractor of monies to persons that furnish labor, materials, equipment and, of course, supplies for the performance of the contract.
And the performance bond is the ones again - these are the contractors who perform the contract in accordance with these terms.
On the next page, you’re going to find the fees. The fees range between 1% and 3% and that’s established by the state. Also if the DBE has to obtain a bond guarantee through the SBA program, the DBE has to pay .729% of the contract price.
So just by giving you an example, taking into consideration you have $350,000 bond - a - 3% the fee, the DBE has to pay between $10,000 and $11,000. That’s only for the surety fees.
If a DBE has to go and use the SBA bond guarantee program as well, they have to pay almost $3000 more. That’s what we were talking about, the $250,000 bond. If we go into a (very successful) DBE and it goes into $1 million contract, they can get reimbursed between $30,000 and $35,000 which is a lot of money for a small business.
Next slide - this is very important date so I’ll review it. The programs runs from August 28, so a bond has to be issued on or after August 28. If the bond was issued one week before, therefore, unfortunately doesn’t then qualify for this program. And it has to be issued on or before September 8, 2010, so this is a one-year program.
Unfortunately there’s no retractive (reimbursement) so all the bonds that were issued before August 28, we won’t be able to process them.
Now I’m going to have to turn it over to (Nancy Strine).
||Good afternoon and good morning everyone. It’s a pleasure for us to be here to tell you we’re back in the bonding business. It’s been a long time so we’re thrilled.
So how do you get these bonds? To be eligible, it’s fairly simple. The two basic caveats are that you have to be a certified DBE and you have to be on an ARRA transportation related contract. So it’s DBE and you have to be on a transportation contract that’s pulled from the recovery funds. So those are the two big ones.
And then in addition with that is that you have to have a DUNS number and you have to be registered in a CCR. I know a lot of DBEs aren’t normally registered in CCRs because that’s more (federal) driven but if you want to get the money - if they want to get the money, the payment, they have to be registered in CCR.
And then in addition, they check that, and we have a description on the application how to be - how to apply for the CCR and then they have to input their bank information which is really important because then that one shows that they’ll get their payment. So they don’t put that bank information on the application, they put it in the CCR.
So what’s the process? Well basically the process is the application - we’ll do the one page application and that can be downloaded from the recovery site on the DOT recovery site under OST and then we have an actual - we have a sort of an OSDBU column of the OST on the DOT recovery site.
So they download that application and they fill it out with all the attachments because there are attachments in each section. After they fill that out, they either scan it in and send it to us at email@example.com and that’s in the back of the part of this slide. But they can submit that to us by email.
Or they can send it by regular mail. But we do not want - we will not accept faxed copies of applications. It’s really hard to read faxed copies. We want to make sure all the information’s correct so that they can get payment.
Then after all the information has been received and we check it, then - and we make - we determine that they’re eligible. We check to make sure they’re eligible. We have received three applications to date and they look good except they - the bond was given before - the bond was actually awarded before August 28 so the first couple bond applications we’re going to be receiving, that’s going to be the problem is the bond was awarded before.
So - but the applications look good so I’m real proud that they’ve been able to get the information to us.
So we review it to make sure they’re eligible. You all are maintaining a master file so we can actually verify that it’s an ARRA project. And then after we have verified all the information, we send it to our budget office with all the supporting documentations and then it is paid and we’re going to be requesting expedited payment process between 12 and 15 days. So that’s pretty quick.
So what’s actually a checklist item? Well, the checklist items are the application itself which is, like I said, one page. It has to be dated and signed. They have to include a copy of their DBE certification, if applicable, a copy of their affidavit - annual affidavit, a copy of their transportation contract, their ARRA transportation contract, and then in addition to that we need a letter from the state or local transportation authority on their letterhead saying - specifying the federal project number.
Now, there are subcontractors. Lots of times you have your subcontracting forms that have that information on that and you can tell the DBE. He can provide that. He or she can provide that in lieu of this letter. And we have included a sample of a letter in the application itself. We tried to make it as easy as possible for the DBE to provide all this information.
But the ones that have submitted so far have done a real good job on that so I think it’s pretty clear in the instructions. If you have any questions you can let us know.
And then we need a copy of the bond but we also need the cancelled check or any verification that they have actually paid that fee. Remember this is a reimbursable fee so they have to have paid it for us to reimburse it, so along with that, the copy of the bond and the proof of the payment.
And then they need these several certifications and what we’ve done in our guide which is also downloaded from the recovery site and it’s called Bonding Assistance Reimbursable Fee Program Guidance. It’s 16 pages and then the 12 - page 12 and 13 we provided the certification.
And all they have to do is download a copy of the certifications and include it in with the application. So that’s basically certification regarding lobbying, certification that (Davis Bacon) wages have been paid and then the certification regarding (debarment) and suspension.
So we’ve made it as easy as possible and again the several that we have received did a very good job of just copying it and including it. So, you know, like I said, we’re trying to make it as self explanatory as possible. But I’m sure there’re going to be questions from you as DBEs and we’re here to help guide you.
So I’ll turn it over to (Esther) and she can talk about the reporting requirements.
|(Esther Lehman):||Hello everybody. Unfortunately they will be subject to Section 1512 reporting requirements. Recipients of awards greater then $25,000 are required to report under Section 1512.
And that means not the contract that they’re working on that’s greater than $25,000. It’s whether they receive a fee reimbursement of greater then $25,000. If you’re assuming an average of 2.5%, that’s somewhere greater then an $800,000 bond. We don’t expect many DBEs to be subject to this reporting requirement but they will be if they have received greater then $25,000 in fees.
However, because they’re already subject, because to be eligible they have to working on a transportation related contract, receiving ARRA funding, they are already reporting Section 1512 so their reporting stream to the operating administration certification that they receive their funding from. So that would be a duplicate reporting.
We asked OMB if we could be not subject to section 1512 because it would be duplicate reporting and they said, “No.” We will be having to report - a DBE that’s subject to section 1512 - will have to report zero (funding) on a non-project with no jobs created.
So whether they - what does that mean? That means that whether they are a prime or a sub, it does not matter. For our program they would be a prime recipient. They would be required to download the reporting template from federalreporting.gov and they would be required to also register and they can pre-register. We encourage them to pre-register because you’re going to have to have the award information to register.
You just go on to federalreporting.gov and it gives your first name, your last name, your email address which will be your user ID, the DUNS number, and you must be registered in the ccr.gov because they will check the application.
To make it easier for the DBEs, we will be pre-filling the templates for them and sending them to them when they receive their approval and then all that they will be required to do is to upload it on federalreporting.gov. And hopefully they have already pre-registered so it’s as simple as logging on and uploading the information.
And with that, I will turn it over to (Art).
Thank you very much. Good afternoon and good morning everyone. I’m (Art Jackson) with the Regional Partnership Region for OSDBU.
One of the things that we feel you will find is that a lot of DBEs who are subcontractors are trying to get a bond - sometimes they’re trying to get their first bond.
Sometimes they start the application process, you know, after projects have been bid. So what we’re attempting to do with the program on our side is to give DBEs information ahead of time, trying to assist them in getting bond ready. That’s a term that they use quite a bit in the industry.
And I think for our DBE subs, that’s a very apropos (sic) situation that they need to go through. DBEs ask time to time, “Well, you know, where are my contacts?” How do I find a local agent? How do I find surety companies that I can participate with?”
Well we have made it possible in our presentations that there are several Web sites you can go to on the industry side, for example, the National Association of Surety Bond Producers which is really sort of a lottery farm for the industry. Their Web site is of course www.nasbp.org.
Then we have another national organization called Surety Fidelity Association - Fidelity - Surety Fidelity Association.
Of America. Okay, that’s SFAA. Their Web site is surety.org.
There’s also a group in your local communities called Local Security Association - LSA. Individual firms can access information through them. They can get an agent or producer - local producer - identified by these national organizations because a lot of the firms out there don’t - they have not processed applications before.
This could be their first time so what they need more then anything else is information on how to make contact with agencies, local producers, someone who’s going to help them.
In conjunction with that, the Regional Partnership Division under (OSDBU) has a program called the Small Business Transportation Resource Centers - SBTRC. Currently we have nine SBTRCs strategically located throughout the country. It covers every state in the Union. And they’re headquartered and reach those cities and they cover the various states around. So we have nine in the process so looking at the program and possibly adding more.
The SBTRCs along with the other technical assistant agencies in the field will be really the point person and (point) agencies for the small businesses, and particularly DBEs to go to for assistance, for technical assistance. They are in the field to work with programs such as SCORE under SBA.
There’re a whole host of them out there but what I encourage the DOT officials, grantees and recipients, to really make contact with our Small Business Transportation Resource Centers. As I said, we have one in every region and they cover the whole country.
They can be your access point in terms of working the DBE and getting them into the bond readiness mode.
The program for ARRA, however, will end in 2010 but we have tremendous opportunities for DBEs and small businesses in general to continue in this effort, once they get their bond, once they get that first bond or once they become bond ready, get their package put together properly, get their financial houses in order - it includes working capital, it includes bonding as well - then they’re able to negotiate the competitive market on their own.
We’re not only trying to help a small number of DBEs at this particular point and hopefully something else will happen in 2010, but we want to set the tone to this ARRA reimbursable program whereby when that is over, DBEs still have an opportunity, the know-how and the knowledge in which to continue being productive companies.
So that is our only goal. But just remember the information that you all were seeing (this deal) relative to the technical assistance agencies are fine, but I would certainly encourage you to spend some time with our SBTRCs.
I have also sent out information to the SBTRCs to make contact with our grantees and recipients in the field (unintelligible). They’re working very eloquently with those, the (airports), the (transfer) agencies. So, you know, the key to this whole thing is to get our people bond ready so when something happens where they want to build a project, then they will have their bonds in place so they can be in.
Any questions? Oh, I’ll (take them at) the end.
|Man:||Just - real quick, just to recap - thank you (Art) - and (Art) touched on a number of these, but just to go over the kind of benefits of this program. We’ll assist the DBEs with short-term cash infusion goals to enable the DBEs to reduce their cost estimates because of the possibility to be reimbursed for these bonding fees, to make them more competitive, to help (clients) not have to carry DBEs in their own bonding (fashion).
nd the overall goal of this and most of our OSDBU programs is to make the DBEs stronger and become more competitive to go after bigger contracts. And I know (Art) touched on that and that’s the goal of this program, and we hope one that can make DBEs more competitive across the board.
I’d just like to list a couple of key resources. The documents that are mentioned in this presentation, the application for the guidance, can be found on DOT’s recovery site and that is www.dot.gov/recovery/ost/osdbu. And that’s the program description where you’ll also find - there’ll be the application packet as well as the guidance which potentially serves as a frequently asked question and should be able to address most of the concerns folks have.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and that will go directly to OSDBU to answer questions about this program. And you can also call us and that number is 1-800-532-1169. So we want to be as assessable as possible to you folks. There’re a number of resources out there. We’re happy to talk with folks and go over questions and go over the procedures.
We want this to be as user-friendly as possible. It’s also something that’s brand new so we want to hear feedback and any way we can improve the program in generally is certainly something we want to take a look at.
And with that, I’d like to open it up to questions for the participants.
||Operator, any questions for the participants?|
||Thank you. We will now begin the question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question, please press star 1. Please unmute your phone and record your name clearly when prompted. Your name is required to introduce your question. To withdraw your request, press star 2. One moment while we wait for the first question.
Okay, no she just said (Tra)...
Our first question comes from (Teresa Banks). Your line is open.
||(Theresa), are you there? Your phone is on mute. While we’re doing that, we have questions from the Webcast. (Ed).|
Yes, a question from (Shakira Ali). Can you please review the contract size amounts? First of all, the contracts - we don’t really have any limitations on the size of the contracts. The keys to being eligible are the fact that the company is a DBE working on an ARRA transportation infrastructure related program in those eligible date periods.
So the contract amount really doesn’t - does, in fact, I mean, we’re willing to reimburse the low end to the high end for those contract amounts. The key is being that the firm seeking reimbursement has to be a DBE working on Recovery Act (unintelligible) programs from August 28 - the bond is between August 28, 2009 and September 8, 2010. I hope (Shakira) - has anything else.
|Coordinator:||Our next question comes from Mr. (Tibbs). You may ask your question.|
Yes, thanks for hosting this both to the ladies and gentlemen there. I was trying to find out some information in regards to the specifics of the ARRA designations for this. There’s one particular contract or proposal that is occurring in the state of New Jersey with New Jersey Transit and Port Authority in New York and New Jersey.
Are any of those related to AA - ARRA funding? And if it’s not categorically just for the Recovery Act, are any portions eligible?
||It’s any project that’s getting any dollar of ARRA funding from the Department of Transportation is eligible. That includes programs that are always (unintelligible) in the DBE program. Hold on one second. Operator, can you hear us?|
|Coordinator:||Yes I can.|
|Woman:||We’re getting a lot of static.|
|Coordinator:||All right thank you. I will go ahead and try to work on that.|
|Woman:||Is it - operator, do you have people on cell phones and we only (unintelligible). If they can mute their cells phones that would help with the static.|
|Coordinator:||The static is coming from your line or the person that is asking the question.|
|Woman:||All right, are we going to get into it?|
|Woman:||Okay. Where in your question - it says all - any project receiving any dollars...|
|Coordinator:||The static should be fixed now.|
Okay. Any project receiving any dollar of ARRA funding from the Department of Transportation, whether in whole or in partial, if there is to be $1 in funds from not just highway but it could be FTA and FAA, as well as FRA, and MARAD concentration as well.
So the port authority might be (unintelligible) concentration and (unintelligible) is receiving ARRA funding, it is eligible. If it is, it has a federal project number and you can always, you know, either email us or call us and we could probably check on the project to see if it is receiving ARRA funding because we are maintaining a database of not only highways but of all modes of transportation. Every project number that they’re awarding is in this database.
I hope that answers your question.
We have a couple of questions here, the first one’s from New York (unintelligible). It’s (unintelligible) offices? There’s no oversight from your end but you need to - what you need to do is help us disseminate this information out to all DBEs in your state or your regions.
It doesn’t matter if they’re working on another ARRA project right now but it’s good for them to know because they can compete for ARRA projects in the future so they’re going to be able to apply for these reimbursements. But there’s no oversight that has to be done from the divisional office.
I have a question that came in from the Illinois division. Is there anything out there to assist firms that do not have the wherewithal to get the bond initially? And as I mentioned earlier - what’s your name sir? (Ram)? Oh that’s right, they can’t talk. They can’t answer.
But as I mentioned earlier, we have nine SBTRCs, Small Business Transportation Resource Centers, in the field, and I would suggest that you get in contact with our Chicago headquarters office in (HACIA), Hispanic Association of Contractors of America, (HACIA).
They have - and the project director’s name is (Jackie Gomez). And on our Web site you can get the phone number and download it into - from our Great Lakes Region which is headquartered in Chicago. Once again, the project director’s name is (Jackie Gomez).
I have a question from (PENDOT). What is meant by transportation infrastructure projects? Well basically that’s what (Esther) said a little while ago. Anything coming from the Department of Transportation and the recovery - with recovery funds, so that would be anything that’s funded with FHWA funds, FTA funds, FAA, (MARAD) or (however) received from ARRA funding.
So it’s really anything. It just has to be transportation - coming from the Department of Transportation so it can’t be like some Homeland Security or the Department of Energy or, you know. It has to be transportation so that’s what’s basically meant by transportation infrastructure.
|Man:||Another question here from (Shakira Ali). So this program will only be available for the next 12 or so months?|
Correct. It is - the bonds that are eligible are the bonds that have been issued August 28 of this year 2009 to September 8, 2010. So that is - the bond itself has to be issued in that timeframe, nothing before August 28, 2009 and nothing after September 8, 2010 is eligible.
It’s very important. That’s a question we receive quite a bit but it is August 28, 2009 to September 8, 2010. That’s the issue date of the bonds. That’s the key. Remember it’s not - it’s the bonding fees that are going to be reimbursed. So that bond has to be issued from the 28th of August of this year to September 8, 2010.
|Woman:||And there is - just a point of clarification - that if the bond was received on September 8, it has to be received - the application has to be received here also by September 8. We are not accepting applications after September 8, 2010. So it has to be received here so that would mean that if you’re real quick with your scanner, you could get your application in and still be eligible.|
|Man:||Yes we have another question here. When will the brochures on the (program) be released? We except to provide 5000 copies to - (unintelligible). We’re just waiting for the brochures to come in. We expect for it to be - to get them in the next couple of weeks, so as soon as we get them we’re going to provide them to you.|
|Man:||We’ll have a copy of that brochure available - and the form on the OST recovery site as well, so anybody can grab that off the site and that’ll be available hopefully sooner then the hard copies.|
|Woman:||Operator, any additional questions on the line?|
|Coordinator:||Yes, our next question comes from Mr. (Mark Thomas). Your line is open.|
|(Mark Thomas):||Thank you. Thank you for hosting this conference. My question is can anyone answer the tax consequences of the reimbursements? So the reimbursement is to be treated as income for the DBE?|
|Woman:||We’re going to have to follow up on that.|
|(Mark Thomas):||Sorry, I didn’t hear the response.|
|Woman:||We’ll have to check - we’ll have to get back to you on that. So who is that and what was their Q&A (unintelligible)? We’re doing frequently asked questions. Can you tell me who you are and I’ll (unintelligible).|
|(Mark Thomas):||Yes, I’m (Mark Thomas). I’m with the Blackman Roberts Group. We provide supportive services here with the Florida Department of Transportation.|
|Man:||I think you just supplied one of the FAQs.|
|Woman:||Yes, we will be adding that.|
Yes, that’d be a good one. And then we received another question from (Danny Simpson). How do contractors file the bond fee? That’s a good question. We had a local bond producer come in and give us a little briefing on how this works.
They basically - they work through their local bond producer so whoever their local bond producer or agent - slash- agent, they take all the information on their bonds, they supply pretty much the payment but the payment goes directly to the surety.
And that’s - the ones that we have received applications for, we have received copies of the cancelled checks or the - and the invoice that they have made. There sometimes can be a lull in the timing of (submittal) of the fee because it is - can be substantial, so depending on the local bond agent and the way that they interact with the surety, you know, there could be a little bit of a time period.
They could do it immediately or they could wait until their about ready to get approval. So - but they always work with the local bond agent or producer. That’s a good question.
Yes, we have another great question. This is from (Robin James). The question is are we eligible if we participate on the (unintelligible) of an SBA 8a firm and not based on the DBE (titles), per se?
And the response is no, that you have to be certified as a DBE by your - the day you’re going to be doing that contract the (unintelligible) the (unintelligible) has to be for a DBE - for DBE - the DBEs only.
If you are an (8A) firm and you have your DBE certification that’s fine but if you’re an (8A) firm working on a federal contract and you don’t have your DBE certification, you don’t qualify for reimbursement.
And again, the law was very clear. We tried to have all the - more business groups. Unfortunately we couldn’t do it. But that’s a good question from (Robin). Thank you.
|Coordinator:||Our next question comes from Mr. (Todd Curry). Your line is open.|
|(Todd Curry):||Yes good afternoon panel. (Todd Curry) with RTD’s Fast Tracks Program. We have a program here in Denver that is receiving federal funds, and my question is whether or not the program that you are putting forth would allow for the DBE subcontractors who have their bonding waived to participate in any kind of assistance from the federal government or if RTD might be able to receive some assistance from the federal government.|
Hi (Todd). How are you doing this afternoon? It’s (Nancy). We - with this particular program, we couldn’t assist them if they have their bonding requirement waived. But we are - we’re working on some other assistance - bonding assistance - and we offer technical assistance as (Art) explained through the SBTRC Regional Partnership.
And then also we have, you know, our short-term lending program and the last two loans that we approved, they could not get their increased funding capacity and so they were - they came to us and received their short term lending programs. So the two programs do work hand-in-glove.
So we can work - we can give you some more assistance and we can talk, you know, we can talk more offline but you have a (unintelligible) National Bank there that can provide assistance and outreach on the financial side. But a lot of the bonding companies do require a 10% working capital fee on their bonds, so that’s - we can help you with that as well.
So we’ll talk. Give me a call or shoot me off an email and we can talk some more about that.
|(Todd Curry):||Well thank you very much.|
|Coordinator:||Our next question comes from Ms. (Jennifer) and (Connie). Your line is open.|
Hi. Thank you all. My question is - I’m calling from California - the Department of Transportation here, CalTrans, has written a requirement into a lot of projects not too long ago stating that they want what they call a UDBE which actually includes women. But they still don’t specify that the projects are utilizing ARRA funds.
They just simply state the funds may have been - or excuse me - some of the funds that are fused into the project are from the federal government, period. So federal stimulus money, is that synonymous still with ARRA funds?
|Woman:||Yes. That was that yes.|
Okay we have another question from (Robin James). We have DBE specification in (several) states in addition to our (8A) specification. Does this make a difference?
No, because you are a - you’re (qualified) as a DBE. You qualify for this project, for this (firm), so.
And I have a question from (James Sanders). Can a surety agent submit the reimbursement application for the client upon approval of the bond?
Good question. No, the DBE has to submit the application to us and that’s another thing we want to make sure, that all the technical assistance providers, you know, and (unintelligible) will assist the DBE, us, (will assist), give technical assistance. The DBE that’s applied for the reimbursement fee has to actually submit the application directly to us, scanning it or sending it regular mail. So that’s a good question.
|Woman:||Operator, are there any more questions?|
|Coordinator:||As a reminder, please press star 1 to ask a question. Your name is required to be recorded. At this time I am showing no further questions.|
|Woman:||One more question from the Webcast.|
|Woman:||Okay, okay. (Pat Tibbs) - the project I spoke of before is the ART Tunnel Project. Are ARRA funds beginning - used in the project as of now?|
|Man:||What state? Where is she from, does it say?|
|Woman:||No. The ART Tunnel Project. Is that the New Jersey Tunnel Project?|
|Man:||Oh New York, New Jersey.|
|Woman:||New Jersey, oh okay. I looked on the Web site because I received a question on that and the New Jersey Tunnel project is - did not have any ARRA funds that I saw. It was already - you know, already been in the program plan and had already been scheduled to go with money (unintelligible).|
Right, because as I mentioned earlier, if you do - once again, if you go to our Web site, that region is covered under the SBTRC program by LaGuardia Community College. And our project director is (Elizabeth Perdomo) out there. And she works very, very closely with New Jersey and New York Transit as well as she’s working on the tunnel project as well.
So I would suggest that you - unfortunately I don’t have here number here before me but it’s on the Web site. That’s the Northeast Region SBTRC.
Yes, we’ll double check on that. And then I have a question here - (Francisco). Have local bond agencies and surety companies been in communication about this initiative?
We’re in the process of getting the word out as well through those organizations and - so that they’re aware of it too. So we’re in the process.
We have another question from (Annie Demoral). How long will it take for a DBE firm to receive the reimbursement?
Once we have a complete application here in our office, it’ll take five business days to be approved (if we’re going to approve), and we expect that a DBE can be reimbursed - receive the cash and the funds within 12 or 15 business days after that - it was approved.
So (unintelligible) was between 15 and 21 days from the moment application is received (unintelligible) in our office.
Right. And - so yes, and so if we package an approved application, we said 12 to 15 days. It could be a little sooner but they average 12 to 15 days.
Here’s another one from (James Sanders). Will the regional DOT technical assistance centers be a good point of contact for DBEs who may need assistance submitting the reimbursement application process?
Of course, you know, information we can get out to you as well, that’s an excellent suggestion so we’ll take that - we’ll send you information as well. So thank you.
|Coordinator:||Our next question comes from Mr. (Mark).|
|(Mark):||Yes, just a follow up to the FAQs. Exactly what Web site will the FAQs (be posted)?
|Man:||That’ll be on dot.gov’s recovery site and that is on the last page of the presentation, but it’s www.dot.gov/recovery/ost/osdbu. And that’ll have the application as well as guidance which is Frequently Asked Questions.|
|(Mark):||Okay and about how long do you think those FAQs will take (unintelligible)?|
|Man:||They’re up now, however, the question on the tax issue will have to be added to that.|
|(Mark):||All right, thank you very much.|
|Woman:||Yes, we have to research it.|
|(Mark):||All right. Thank you.|
I have a question from (Casey Lewis). What is the maximum amount allowed for participants? Good question (Casey). We don’t have a maximum amount or a minimum amount. We have a time period.
As long as you’re eligible, the DBE’s eligible, he or she can submit as many applications as they want as long as they’re on an ARRA transportation project and they meet all the eligibility requirements. So as long as - the bond’s from August 28 to September 8. They can submit as many applications as possible. It’s one app- one bond per application.
|Woman:||It’s first come first serve (unintelligible).|
It’s first come first serve. So we’re keeping track of the number and it’s whoever gets their application in first and it’s complete. Okay.
Okay, here’s a question from (Otis Buckner). CODA and ODOT, under the UCP program, correct? If CODA has projects to bid, will CODA be considered under the federal funding like that of ODOT?
Yes. CODA - are you talking about the transportation fee? Okay. If it’s a transit agency or airport authority, yes.
|Woman:||I think it’s from Ohio because CODA’s from Columbus. I think CODA’s a transportation agency in Columbus.|
|Woman:||Ohio (Otis) I think - but definitely, definitely applies to both.|
|Woman:||Operator, one more last call on your side.|
|Coordinator:||Our next question comes from Ms. (Linda Creiger). Your line is open.|
|(Linda Creiger):||Good afternoon. If we are a subcontractor on an ARRA project, do we have any recourse to get back the bonds that are being withheld from our pay by the prime contractor?|
|Man:||She means the fee.|
|Woman:||Are you - so okay. (Linda) asked if there’s any recourse for her to get her money back. Are you talking about you - okay. When you apply for this program, you cannot put in your request for that reimbursement of the fees in your first draw to the (prime) because you’re going to be reimbursed from DOT for that.|
|(Linda Creiger):||Right, but we lose 1% of what we earn. The prime keeps it as bond fees.|
|Woman:||Right. And that’s what we’re paying - that’s what we’re reimbursing you for.|
|(Linda Creiger):||But we can be reimbursed for contracts that we sub on?|
|(Linda Creiger):||Oh okay.|
|(Linda Creiger):||And that would be - I can get that information on how to do that at the Web site, correct?|
|Woman:||Right. And if you have any questions, you can send to our email.|
|(Linda Creiger):||Okay I have that information.|
|Woman:||Questions in that email@example.com. But just when you submit your first invoice to the prime, you just don’t submit that as an eligible expense.|
|Woman:||We’re reimbursing you for that.|
|(Linda Creiger):||Okay thank you very much.|
|Coordinator:||Our last question comes from Ms. (Emani Bennett). Your line is open.|
|(Emani Bennett):||Good evening. I’m just trying to - I was a little late and I just want to get all of the people’s names so that we can work with our state DOT. I don’t know if any of them were able to get on the call today, so we’re working with them. And we want them to be able to have the information of who they can call and speak to a person.|
|Man:||You mean the names of the presenters, our office (unintelligible)?|
|(Emani Bennett):||Yes, that’s what I need to know because I was a little late and didn’t get all the names.|
|Man:||Do you want us to state our name now or would you prefer we send it to you?|
|(Emani Bennett):||Oh I guess that would be easier.|
|Man:||Well yes, you can leave us, you know, an email address or phone number. We can send you our names and positions.|
|Man:||That would help, okay?|
|(Emani Bennett):||And so how would I send that to you guys?|
|Woman:||You can send it in an email - the - on the overhead. It’s to firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|(Emani Bennett):||I’m sorry because I don’t have - all I have is my phone. I don’t have any (unintelligible).|
|Woman:||Oh okay, dat.arra...oh, okay, 1-800-532-1169.|
|(Emani Bennett):||And then I can get that information, correct?|
|Woman:||Right. You can call us and we can provide you that information.|
|(Emani Bennett):||That’s great. And this has been a very, very helpful call and I just wish that more people in our region were able to participate.|
|Woman:||I have one more question from (Ellen Neland). And this is another good question. (Frequently) sureties require fund consult to support a DBE contractor bond. Will this program offer a refund for those bond related fees?|
|Woman:||No. The answer’s no and that’s provided in the guidance but we did check it out. We did try to include that but we cannot reimburse you for that as for the fund consultee. So that was another good question, so.|
Before we wrap it up, we want to make an announcement. The Webinar is going to be posted. Once it’s available, a link will be provided and you can access that at the site for this program.
If there’re no more questions, we will wrap it up in a minute. So I will turn it over to (Candace Groudine).
|(Candace Groudine):||Well thank you all for participating again and we just want to say that federal highway highly encourages all you to forward the opportunities described here today. We think that this program has a great deal of potential to increase the competitiveness of DBEs in securing federal highway contracts.|
ust one thing to add - (Greg Nadeau), Deputy Administrator of Federal Highways for those of you who joined us late - any ideas and suggestions as to how we can outreach to DBEs or potential DBEs and make them aware and educate them about this opportunity, feel free to submit those to either organizations.
Obviously the program will only be as successful as there are companies and businesses out there where it exists so our divisions I’m sure could be very helpful in that respect in terms of outreach. So please submit your suggestions on how we can get the good word out. And thank you for participating.
|Woman:||Thank you all.|
|Woman:||Thank you operator. We’re done.|
|Coordinator:||Thank you for participating in today’s conference call. You may disconnect at this time.|