Q. We have bid on a number of FTA funded par transit contracts. Having reviewed FTA Third Party Contracting Guidance, we have interpreted Page IV-16 (f) to mandate that some "competitive preference to products and services that conserve natural resources, protect the environment..." must be given when awarding contracts funded by the FTA. The local recipient (Metro Bus Company) tells us that is irrelevant. Our vehicles are fueled by less polluting propane and feel it should be a factor at some level. Are we correct on this matter?
A. The FTA Circular 4220.1F, Page IV-16 (f) supports your understanding of the federal requirements in 40 CFR Part 247 with respect to a required competitive preference for items that "protect the environment." We cannot say, however, whether or how this competitive preference should be expressed in your situation (or others similar to it) where a vendor is offering vehicles that operate on propane as compared to other fuels. Unfortunately the regulations do not give guidance as to how this preference is to be expressed and the circumstances that might preclude it, such as the owner's operating or maintenance expense differentials between the competing products, etc. (Posted: September, 2010)
Q. Recycled Products, 40 CFR Part 247: How does this requirement apply? We are preparing to bid out for paper in excess of $10,000. Do we have to require recycled paper or can we just say it is preferred? We consider all of our funding to include FTA funds.
A. 40 CFR Part 247 requires a preference for recycled materials. It is not an absolute mandate. 40 CFR 247.2(d) states as follows:
(d) RCRA section 6002(c)(1) requires procuring agencies to procure designated items composed of the highest percentge of recovered materials practicable, consistent with maintaining a satisfactory level of competition, considering such guidelines. Procuring agencies may decide not to procure such items if they are not reasonably available in a reasonable period of time; fail to meet reasonable performance standards; or are only available at an unreasonabe price. (Posted: November, 2010)