Q. In order to encourage prospective contractors to submit offers, may a transit agency pay a stipend to the offerors to cover their cost to develop the proposal?
A. Yes. It is not uncommon on large, complex acquisitions to pay a stipend to cover all or part of the cost of proposal preparation, in order to encourage competition. This has been done, for example, on large design-build projects where the agency required offerors to include design concepts with their proposals and the development of these concepts caused the offerors to incur considerable expense. The solicitation should make clear that in exchange for the payment of the stipend, agencies take title contractually to all designs and data in the technical proposals. Thus the agency would be free to use the ideas and designs of an unsuccessful offeror because they have paid for the technical data in that proposal. (Revised: August 28, 2009)