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A law that sought airport contracts for minority-run businesses hasn't helped, report says

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A 2012 law aimed at helping women- and minority-owned businesses get contracts for airport projects hasn't helped, and participation from those groups has declined 31 percent between 2012 and 2014, according to an Inspector General audit.

The number of new women- and minority-owned businesses, or disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) at major airports declined 76 percent. The report claims some airports reported more DBEs than actually existed on site. One airport reported 47 DBE rental car agencies when only 11 fit the DBE requirements.

For a business to qualify as a DBE, it must be at least 51 percent owned by a woman or a racial minority. 

The report claimed DBEs were discouraged from participating because the Federal Aviation Administration's processing time was too long and ineffective. This, in turn, resulted from poor training for people designated to certify these applications. These delays led to businesses missing contracts. 

SeaTac airport.jpg
Passengers wait in line at a security screening checkpoint, Thursday, May 19, 2016, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. Airport officials announced Thursday that following a training period, several dozen contract employees will start work on Monday, May 23, 2016 to assist passengers at security checkpoints, with the goal of freeing up TSA agents and reducing passenger wait times. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In one case, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport got $45 million in FAA grants, but reported little or no DBE participation. It hasn't met its DBE goals since 2013, according to the report.

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