State Procurement Schedules
Third Party Procurement
Frequently Asked Questions
Q = Question; A = Answer
Q. Would you consider the State of IL Joint Procurement Program a GSA Schedule type contracting method? The State's Central Procurement office issues competitive procurements and in the procurement subsequent contract documents it clearly states that these contracts allow all state agencies and all local government agencies within the state of IL to purchase items and services from these select master agreements; these agreements usually entail substantial discounted pricing with the understanding that these contracts will be purchased from various state and local government agencies (thus providing bulk discounts). We do not consider this a joint procurement or assignment (piggybacking) type contract. Our agency can purchase items from contracts issued under this program through state legislation, we are not obligated to buy off these contracts and these are not set up like IDIQs with assignment language (very similar to the GSA Schedule program).
Is there a checklist of items we need to adhere to in these cooperative purchases? I believe as long as we can show they were competitively bid, we complete a price analysis, and we append the final contract signed with the vendor to include the FTA clauses and requirements, we would satisfy the FTA's competitive procurement requirements. This is based on the circular as I could not find a PSR checklist for State, GSA or Local Government Cooperative Purchases.
We were told recently that we violated the requirements for piggybacking as these cooperative procurement master agreements did not contain minimums and maximums as required in piggybacking/IDIQ contracts. But I believe these contracts were mistakenly categorized as piggybacking/IDIQs.
A. State GSA type contracts awarded competitively for the benefit of all State agencies are not considered "piggybacking/IDIQ" actions and do not require minimum and maximum quantities or assignability clauses. You may use these contracts if you include all FTA required clauses and certifications with your first purchase order issued under the State contract. If you are buying a product that is other than the lowest offered price for that product under all State contracts, you must document the file as to why the higher priced product must be purchased. You must also determine that the State contracts were awarded with full and open competition and were not subject to geographical preferences (e.g., giving in-state vendors a bidding preference - as some states have such practices that are prohibited by FTA). (Posted: January, 2013)
Minnesota Cooperative Purchasing Venture Letter (PDF) (Posted: July 30, 2013)
Q. As a grantee, if we purchase products on a State of Iowa Schedule, are we required to have an Independent Cost Estimate, perform a Cost/Price Analysis, and keep a written record of procurement history?
A. FTA Circular 4220.1F, Chapter VI, paragraph 6, requires a cost or price analysis for every procurement and the starting point for the analysis is the preparation of an ICE. For commercial items the ICE would be based on recent prices established in the open market under competitive pricing conditions. If the State procurement office performed a price analysis for the award of their contracts, you may accept that analysis if you determine it is adequate. If you select a product from the State contract that is higher priced than other items of the same nature on the State contract, you will have to document your reasons for requiring the higher priced product.
FTA would expect you to review the State procedures used to award the various State contracts and determine that they complied with FTA procedures in 4220.1F with respect to full and open competition. This would include a determination that no local geographical preferences were used in awarding the contracts, such as giving Iowa State companies preferential pricing treatment.
If the State contracts do not include required FTA clauses, including Buy America, you may add these clauses and certifications when you place your first order under the State contract.
You must document the procurement files with a “record of the procurement history,” including the analysis that you performed of the State contract for compliance with FTA policies, and how you arrived at your determination that the price being paid is fair and reasonable. (Posted: November, 2013)
Q. As a state agency (Iowa DOT), if we were to conduct bus procurement on behalf of Iowa's transit systems that will be using FTA funds to purchase buses, it is allowable for other state agencies to purchase off this procurement as well?
A. FTA grantees located outside of a State's borders are not permitted to purchase from that State's schedule. This policy is in accordance with FTA Circular 4220.1F, Chapter V, paragraph 4.
We would also refer you to a decision letter issued by the FTA Chief Counsel's office in connection with the State of Minnesota's Cooperative Purchasing Contract (CPV), which may be found at the FTA web site: Minnesota Cooperative Purchasing Venture Letter (PDF). The FTA letter discusses a number of important issues that affect the use of contracts awarded by other agencies, which you should be familiar with. (Posted: December, 2013)
Q. Can we add Federal clauses and certificates if we are using our own State's contract of which we are a member of. The latest Master Agreement says that the contract must have these clauses and certificates. Previously we were allowed to add them. Has it changed?
A. FTA has not changed its policies regarding State GSA-type contracts that are awarded for the benefit of subordinate government agencies. If the State contract does not include Federal clauses, such as Buy America, the clauses may be added by the grantee with the first purchase order issued to a vendor under the State contract. The FTA policy may be found in FTA Circular 4220.1F, Chapter V, paragraph 4.c. (Posted: December, 2014)
Q. Is a state contract exempt from having to specify minimum and maximum quantities because the state is not a recipient of federal funds?
A. FTA Circular 4220.1F, Chapter V, paragraphs 4 and 7 discuss FTA requirement pertaining to State Purchasing Schedules and assignment of contract rights held by others.
A State Purchasing Schedule that is awarded for the benefit of subordinate government agencies within the State is not required to contain minimum and maximum quantities. The FTA requirement for minimum and maximum quantities applies to grantees acting alone or jointly with other known grantees for a particular acquisition. In this case the contract must reflect the reasonably expected needs of the parties, and excess quantities may not be added for the purpose of allowing other agencies that are not part of the original buying group to "piggyback" the contract after award. (Posted: December, 2014)
Q. If so, because the FTA requirement applies to WATA as the recipient of Federal funds, does this mean WATA is not permitted to piggyback this contract?
A. WATA's use of the State contract is permissible, assuming the contract was awarded for the benefit of subordinate State agencies. For your information, when grantees use State Purchasing Schedules, FTA does not classify the action as "piggybacking," and rules established for "piggybacking" do not apply to State Purchasing Schedules. "Piggybacking" as used by FTA refers to the assignment of unanticipated excess contract rights by one agency to a grantee that was not known at the time of the original contract award. FTA rules for piggybacking are contained in paragraph 7, "Existing Contracts," of Chapter V of 4220.1F. (Posted: December, 2014)
Q. If the State contract is not exempt, does the State have the ability to add quantities (min and max) to the existing contract, which would result in WATA being able to piggyback?
A. The State contract is exempt from having to include minimum and maximum quantities. (Posted: December, 2014)
Q. If piggybacking is not a valid procurement option in this case, what procurement method should be used in order to procure rolling stock from state IDIQ contracts?
A. As already noted, WATA may use the State contract. (Posted: December, 2014)
Q. I am in a position to purchase computer hardware through a piggyback of a New York state contract. This particular request will use federal funds.
My organization has used this contract in the past, and issued purchase orders for hardware using non-federal funding. My question: Can I no longer use this contract for any federally funded requirements? The assumption we have is that since we have used it in the past (for non-federal purchases), we cannot use it moving forward.
A. FTA policies allow grantees to use contracts awarded by State or local governments for the benefit of subordinate government entities. It appears from your question that you wish to use a contract awarded by the State of New York for subordinate government entities, like the LIRR. You may do this as long as you add the required federal clauses at the time of your first order under the state contract. FTA policy may be found in FTA Circular 4220.1F, Chapter V, paragraph 4. The circular may be found online: http://www.fta.dot.gov/legislation_law/12349_8641.html . (Posted: October,2015)
Q. For years, we've been using NYS OGS contracts for many of our technology orders (State funds). We recently received a new request for hardware equipment that will be used on a federally-funded project. We are now required to federalize this hardware order. Please advise on whether or not we can continue to use the same OGS contract and add-on the federal provisions to the PO.
A. FTA policies allow grantees to use contracts awarded by State or local governments for the benefit of subordinate government entities. It appears from your question that you wish to use a contract awarded by the State of New York for subordinate government entities, like the LIRR. You may do this as long as you add the required federal clauses at the time of your first order using federal funds under the state contract. FTA policy may be found in FTA Circular 4220.1F, Chapter V, paragraph 4. The circular may be found online: http://www.fta.dot.gov/legislation_law/12349_8641.html (Posted: October, 2015)
The Q&A section indicates Federal clauses and required certifications must be issued with our first purchase under the State contract.
Q. Does the FTA require purchases of transit buses to be in line with forecast projections identified in the original solicitation?
Background Information: We have a bus solicitation that stated that there would be a total of 800 buses brought off this contract. A subject matter expert for WSDOT indicated that purchases could be less than 800 but couldn't exceed. Our contract has gained momentum and the original projected may exceed 800. Will this create issues for our agency?
A. FTA policies allow States to award Indefinite Quantity contracts on behalf of subordinate State agencies without specifying minimum or maximum quantities. You should of course furnish the bidders with the most accurate estimates of quantities that you expect will be bought under the contract. The fact that orders may exceed your initial estimates is not an issue with FTA. (Posted: November, 2015)
Q. Regarding State Contracts for FTA bus procurements, does it matter whether a Request for Quote or Request for Proposal was used in the solicitation?
A. FTA does not prescribe any particular method for States (or grantees) to procure buses. Some agencies use RFPs and some use sealed bids. It is important that the State conduct a full and open competition where prices and other factors (as published in the solicitation) are evaluated. Manufacturers should also be advised of the likely quantity of buses that may be ordered by State agencies so that their pricing can reflect any quantity discounts.
It is also important that the Federal clauses such as Buy America be incorporated in the solicitation and contract. But when using contracts awarded by the State for subordinate agencies such as yours, grantees are allowed to add the Buy America certification and other required clauses in the first purchase order that they issue under the State contract (if the State contract lacks the federal clauses). If grantees are piggybacking a contract awarded by another transit agency, however, that transit agency's contract must include the federal clauses as part of the basic contract award. If the contract does not include the federal clauses, the grantee may not piggyback the contract. (Posted: November, 2015)