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Disparity Study FAQ

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What is a Disparity Study?

A Disparity Study is an evaluation of the procurement and contracting practices of government agencies, particularly in their use of Minority-owned, Woman-owned, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.

Who is sponsoring the Study?

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Participating Partners are the sponsors of the Disparity Study. The Participating Partners include the Massachusetts Port Authority, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and Massachusetts Aeronautics Division including the Pittsfield Municipal Airport, Westfield-Barnes Airport, Norwood Memorial Airport, Beverly Municipal Airport, Plymouth Municipal Airport, Nantucket Memorial Airport, Martha’s Vineyard Airport, Logan Airport, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

What is the purpose of the Study?

The purpose of this Study is to evaluate how well MassDOT and its Participating Partners’ current programs promote equal opportunity for bidding and equitable distribution of their procurements.

Why has MassDOT decided to conduct a Disparity Study?

MassDOT has decided to conduct a Disparity Study to accomplish the following:
• Identify the best practices that will help MassDOT and its Participating Partners build a business program to stimulate the economic growth of local businesses.
• Increase the participation of Small, Local, Disadvantaged, Minority, and Woman-owned Business Enterprises in MassDOT and the Participating Partners’ contracts.
• Promote a sound fiduciary relationship with local businesses.
• Reinforce social responsibility toward the local business community.

How does MassDOT benefit from this Study?

There are many benefits of a Disparity Study. The three principal benefits for MassDOT and the Participating Partners are to:
• Identify best practices to improve the contracting process.
• Increase the number of bidders for MassDOT and the Participating Partners’ contracts.
• Lower the MassDOT and the Participating Partners’ procurement costs.

What guidelines exist to help direct the Study?

The Disparity Study will be guided by current case law.

How will MassDOT identify businesses that are available to contract?

Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd. will conduct a broad-based community outreach program and use a thorough data collection process. MassDOT and the Participating Partners’ contract records and trade and professional association lists will help identify businesses that are available. In addition, MassDOT will utilize business lists from other Massachusetts-based governmental agencies.

What industries are being studied?

The Study includes an analysis and evaluation of MassDOT’s current contracting practices. The industries being studied are construction, professional services, architecture and engineering, goods and services, and concessions typically awarded by MassDOT and the Participating Partners.

Who is conducting the Study?

Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd., a national public policy research firm based in Oakland, California, is conducting the Study. Mason Tillman will review MassDOT and the Participating Partners’ contract records, identify market area businesses, interview key managers, and collect anecdotal accounts from business owners.

How can local business owners get involved?

Local business owners can get involved in many ways, such as the following:
• Learn more about the Disparity Study
• Take action by completing a Business Survey.
• Participate in a telephone interview to share experiences.
• Provide membership lists from local business associations.

Who should business owners contact to get additional information?

Contact Mason Tillman Associates by telephone at (617) 830-0447 or by email at
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