FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Disparity Study?

The Disparity Study (Study) is an evaluation of METRO’s contracting practices, particularly the award of contracts to Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprises.

Who is sponsoring the Study?

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas is the Study sponsor.

Who is conducting the Study?

Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd., a national expert in conducting disparity studies, will review METRO’s contract records, identify market area businesses, and collect anecdotal accounts from business owners. The firm is based in Oakland, California.

What is the purpose of the Study?

The Study will determine if a statistical disparity exists in the award of the METRO’s contracts to ready, willing, and able market area Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprises.

 

What guidelines exist to help direct the Study?

The Study will be guided by the United States Supreme Court’s 1989 decision in City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469 (1989) and its progeny.

 

Why has METRO decided to conduct the Study?

METRO has decided to conduct the Study to ensure the following objectives are accomplished:

  • Identify best business practices that will help METRO build business programs to stimulate the economic growth of local businesses.

  • Determine if there has been a disparity in M/WBE firms receiving METRO contracts.

How could METRO benefit from the Study?

Three benefits to METRO are to:

  • Identify best practices to improve METRO’s contracting process.

  • Increase the number of bidders on METRO’s contracts.

  • Lower METRO’s procurement costs.

How will METRO identify available businesses?

To identify available businesses, Mason Tillman will conduct a broad-based business outreach program by collecting METRO’s contract records, government certification lists, outreach meeting lists, and local trade and professional association lists to identify available businesses.

Which industries are being studied?

The industries being studied are construction, professional services, and goods and services.

 

How can local business owners get involved?

​Three ways that a business can get involved are to:

  • Complete a business survey and attend a business community meeting if you are a local business. The meetings will be held on April 30, 2020.

  • Participate in a telephone interview to share contracting and bidding experiences.

  • Provide membership lists from local business associations.

 

Who should business owners contact to get additional information?

Mason Tillman can be contacted by telephone at 832-303-7024 and by email at METROHarrisCountyDisparityStudy@mtaltd.com.