Unsolicited Proposals

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Q. What are FTA's rules and policies regarding unsolicited proposals for the rail transit industry? Specifically, the proposal would deal with the potential cost savings through the implementation of a modern, industry oriented reliability program that emphasizes cost saving.

A. FTA Circular 4220.1F Ch. VI, Section 1.b., provides as follows:

b. Unsolicited Proposals. A recipient may also enter into contracts based on an unsolicited proposal, as defined in Chapter I of this circular, when authorized by applicable State or local law or regulation. Receipt of an unsolicited proposal does not, by itself, justify contract award without providing for full and open competition. Unless the unsolicited proposal offers a proprietary concept that is essential to contract performance, FTA expects the recipient to seek competition. To satisfy the requirement for full and open competition, FTA expects the recipient to take the following actions before entering into a contract resulting from an unsolicited proposal:

(1) Receipt. Publicize its receipt of the unsolicited proposal,
(2) Adequate Description. Publicize an adequate description of the property or services offered without improperly disclosing proprietary information or disclosing the originality of thought or innovativeness of the property or services sought,
(3) Interest in the Property or Services. Publicize its interest in acquiring the property or services described in the proposal,
(4) Adequate Opportunity to Compete. Provide an adequate opportunity for interested parties to comment or submit competing proposals, and
(5) Contract Award Based on Proposals Received. Publicize its intention to award a contract based on the unsolicited proposal or another proposal submitted in response to the publication.

If it is impossible to describe the property or services offered without revealing proprietary information or disclosing the originality of thought or innovativeness of the property or services sought, the recipient may make a sole source award to the offeror. A sole source award may not be based solely on the unique capability of the offeror to provide the specific property or services proposed.
(Revised: September 1, 2009)    

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