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Unified Certification Program

Moving Pennsylvania Forward and Creating Economic Opportunities For All

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has had in effect for more than 20 years a policy of helping small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including minorities and women, in participating in contracting opportunities created by DOT financial assistance programs.

DOT DBE regulations (49 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 23 and 26) require state and local transportation agencies that receive DOT financial assistance, to establish goals for the participation of DBEs. Each DOT-assisted state and local transportation agency is required to establish annual DBE goals, and review the scopes of anticipated large prime contracts throughout the year and establish contract-specific DBE subcontracting goals.

In order for small disadvantaged firms to participate in the DOT-assisted contracts of state and local transportation agencies they must apply for and receive certification as a DBE. To be certified as a DBE, a firm must be a small business owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Recipients get information about firms through on-site visits, personal interviews, reviews of licenses, stock ownership, equipment, bonding capacity, work completed, resume of principal owners, financial capacity, and type of work preferred.

PA Unified Certification Program (UCP)

The UCP allows applicants for the DBE program to apply only once for a DBE certification that will be honored by all recipients in the state. Prospective DBEs seeking certification can submit an application and supporting documentation to any one of the following five agencies, known as Certifying Participants (CPs):

  • Allegheny County
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
  • Port Authority of Allegheny County
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
  • City of Philadelphia

For more details and contact information, please visit the PA UCP website at

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Must Belong to the PA UCP?

All U.S. DOT recipients who receive funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and recipients of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds who have more than $250,000 in federally assisted contracting opportunities must comply with the 49 CFR Part 26 requirements. Based on funding, entities may or may not participate from year to year. The PA UCP Agreement outlines how Pennsylvania's UCP will operate and function.

Is There a Cost to Become Certified?

No, certification is free. There is no charge to the prospective DBE applicant.

How Do Prime Contractors Benefit?

Prime contractors can utilize the PA UCP web-based directory ( to identify DBEs currently certified in PA to work on projects funded by FAA, FHWA, or FTA. Prime contractors can search by criteria including, but not limited to, firm name, work description and North American Industry Classification code (NAICS).

Can Anyone Use the DBEs that are Certified Under the PA UCP?

The PA UCP directory is available in print upon request. However, as the directory is constantly changing, it is recommended that entities seeking firms utilize the real-time on-line directory. This will help ensure that only firms that are currently certified under the strict standards of 49 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 23 and 26 are utilized. It should be noted that there are a wide variety of firms certified by the PA UCP that perform work outside of the aviation, highway and transit industries. The more entities that utilize the PA UCP the greater the opportunities created for DBE firms. Therefore, entities that do not have the resources to perform certification are strongly encouraged to utilize the PA UCP directory.

You can reference the program's Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) document for more information.