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A new Federal Highway Administration policy could impact many new and small engineering firms working for State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) or attempting to break into the transportation market.

The FHWA guidance allows firms that have not developed an overhead rate that complies with the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to voluntarily use a “safe harbor” indirect cost rate when contracting with DOTs on federally funded projects. The Safe Harbor policy is voluntary and designed to enable new, small, and DBE firms to compete for work while they develop a cost history and adequate accounting systems to develop a FAR-compliant rate. It also allows DOTs to allocate limited audit resources to more complex, higher risk contracts.

Join FAR compliance and audit experts Wayne Owens and Tony Machi to explore the 10-state pilot program that led to the development of the policy, outline the parameters of the final FHWA guidance and State DOT implementation, and document how a Safe Harbor rate could benefit or hurt your new or small firm.


  • Understand the intended benefits and outcomes of the Safe Harbor program
  • Compare the Safe Harbor policy with existing Federal audit and accounting requirements
  • Recognize the potential pitfalls of accepting a safe harbor rate
  • Identify strategies for successfully navigating the DOT contract negotiation, administration, and audit process
  • Consider the implications for prime contractors overseeing subcontracted firms utilizing a safe harbor rate

Presenter: Wayne Owens and Tony Machi, T. Wayne Owens & Associates PC

Course Type

Online Class

Delivery Type

On Demand, Online, Self-Paced

PDH Credit


Price (Member)


Price (Non-Member)


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