In keeping with North Carolina G.S. 136-28.4, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights is conducting a disparity study that will analyze the availability and utilization of disadvantaged, minority-owned and women-owned businesses in contracts for planning, design, preconstruction, construction, alteration or maintenance of state transportation infrastructure.
The study will also include a review of NCDOT’s policies and practices related to contracting for all aspects of the state transportation infrastructure and anecdotal evidence gathered from business owners across the NCDOT marketplace. Modes included in this analysis are highways, bridges, rail, ferry, general aviation airports, and public transit facilities and the procurement of materials for projects in those categories.
Below are answers to some of the most common questions about the 2019 disparity study. For answers to additional questions, visit http://ncdotdisparitystudy.com, or contact Griffin & Strong, P.C.
What is a disparity study?
A disparity study is a legal study to determine if there are disparities between the availability of Disadvantaged Minority-Owned and Women-Owned firms (collectively "M/W/DBE") and their utilization in NCDOT contracting.
Disparity studies provide the factual basis for remedial contracting programs, demonstrating disparities in NCDOT contracting by race and gender status of business owners. The study will also help determine the need for, use of, or continuation of race and/or gender-based programs that address the identified disparities.
Why is a disparity study important?
It is the desire of the state of North Carolina to promote equity in public contracting. To this end, NCDOT is required to conduct a disparity study that provides the factual basis of the presence of disparities in NCDOT contracting. This study may support the use of programs to remediate any identified disparities and will satisfy the requirements of strict scrutiny established by the U.S. Supreme Court in City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469 (1989) and Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200 (1995).
Who is conducting the N.C. Department of Transportation’s disparity study?
Atlanta-based law and public policy consulting firm Griffin & Strong, P.C. is conducting the 2019 disparity study. Raleigh-based Ken Weeden & Associates, Inc. and Joset Wright-Lacy are working on the state’s behalf as internal Project Managers to NCDOT. Learn more about the NCDOT project team or the Griffin & Strong, PC research team.
Will the public be engaged in the disparity study?
Griffin & Strong is responsible for all outreach and data collection efforts and will be facilitating including public community meetings and events, in-depth surveys and interviews, and focus groups with stakeholders throughout North Carolina.
Over the study, Griffin & Strong will be in contact with the community, business owners and stakeholders. NCDOT encourages the participation of the community in providing information necessary to ensure the delivery of a valid and legally defensible study.
Where can I find more information about the disparity study?
For more information, follow along with the Griffin & Strong study website at http://ncdotdisparitystudy.com. Griffin & Strong will provide periodic updates regarding outreach events and scheduling of public engagement opportunities.
NCDOT will also post periodic updates about the disparity study on this website. Updates will include information about upcoming public events conducted by Griffin & Strong.
Also follow the link to Learn more about NCDOT current Disadvantaged Business Program based on its prior 2014 Disparity Study NCDOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs.