Circular 4220.1E--Third Party Contracting Requirements

Number C-09-03

U.S. Department
of Transportation
Federal Transit


400 Seventh St. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Colleague:

I am pleased to provide you with an update of FTA’s policy Circular on Third Party Contracting requirements. Earlier this year, we committed to providing grantees and other stakeholders with a single, consolidated reference document that incorporates guidance contained in a variety of Dear Colleague letters issued since the circular was last issued in 1996. In updating the circular, we have also taken a close look at FTA’s procurement policy and the common grant rule in an effort to identify a common-sense approach to reconciling any real or perceived conflicts in those two documents.

The changes are wide-ranging and should enable your procurement staffs to exercise the flexibility and discretion that FTA has been working so hard to infuse into all of its policies. The rules themselves have been streamlined wherever possible. Unnecessary record keeping requirements have been removed. We have provided help on age-old problems such as defining the salient characteristics of a product and provided new strategies that enable grantees to take advantage of the often-superior pricing schedules found in statewide and other large, open-ended procurement vehicles.

Perhaps the most important change to the circular is the introduction of an extensive interpretive commentary that tracks the circular, paragraph by paragraph, and explains exactly what FTA intends the policy to mean. The commentary, which has initially been incorporated as footnotes to the circular, is meant to foster a unified, common sense understanding of these rules. This commentary will ultimately be incorporated in FTA’s Best Practices Procurement Manual, where it can be updated to reflect new issues and contracting strategies.

This is just one of many steps that FTA continues to take as part of its commitment to help grantees and other stakeholders deliver the highest value for America’s investment in public transportation. Our goal is to adopt creative and common sense approaches that encourage shared risk taking and strengthen the business climate. I know I can count on you to extend the kind of collaborative exchange of ideas that has made this revised circular possible and I invite your leadership in applying and sharing your own best practice procurement solutions in bringing innovative and economical transit products and services to your local communities.


Jennifer L. Dorn