It is important to note that DBE involvement only satisfies DBE goals if the DBE serves a commercially useful function. Generally, this means that the DBE must perform the whole of a task itself and the task must be necessary for the completion of the project. The specific rules vary by the task being performed, however.
A DBE will not be considered to perform a commercially useful function if it acts only as an extra participant in a transaction or projects to provide the appearance of DBE participation. If a DBE does not perform or exercise responsibility for at least 30 percent of the total cost of its contract with its own work force, or if the DBE subcontracts a greater portion of the work of a contract than would be expected on the basis of normal industry practice for the type of work involved, ADOT will presume that the DBE is not performing a commercially useful function.
When a DBE is presumed not to be performing a commercially useful function as provided above, the DBE may present evidence to rebut this presumption. Decisions on commercially useful function matters are subject to review by FHWA, but are not administratively appealable to U.S. DOT.
See this video from the FHWA for more information on what qualifies as a Commercially Useful Function.
For more information on good faith efforts, as well as information on what sort of work satisfies the commercially useful function requirement of DBE goals, contact ContractorCompliance@azdot.gov or call 602-712-7761.