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The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) plans to co-sponsor the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Bonding Education Program for small and disadvantaged businesses in the area. The agency is partnering with Balfour Beatty to offer the program.The program is aimed at meeting the specific needs of contractors competing for federally funded transportation contracts, CATS officials said in a press release yesterday. The agency will hold a kick-off meeting May 28 for the program, which will run June 2-18. "CATS is committed to helping small and economically-challenged businesses," said John Muth, interim chief executive officer of CATS. "This is another step in our efforts to assist businesses in becoming more successful."The USDOT program teaches these businesses how to obtain bonds, manage growth, bid and leverage financial and lending opportunities, CATS officials said.