P19-108 Heavy Duty Low Floor Battery Electric Transit Buses and Charging Unit

Agency: Town of Chapel Hill
State: North Carolina
Type of Government: State & Local
NAICS Category:
  • 238210 - Electrical Contractors and Other Wiring Installation Contractors
  • 335911 - Storage Battery Manufacturing
Posted Date: Feb 12, 2019
Due Date: May 22, 2019
Solicitation No: P19-108
Bid Source: Please Login to View Page
Contact information: Please Login to View Page
Bid Documents: Please Login to View Page
P19-108 Heavy Duty Low Floor Battery Electric Transit Buses and Charging Unit
  • Department: Business Management
  • Category: Vehicles & Equipment
  • RFP Number: P19-108
  • Start Date: 02/12/2019
  • Close Date: 05/22/2019 2:00 PM

Pursuant to Section 143-129 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the Town of Chapel Hill (herein referred to as “Town”) is inviting sealed Bids from responsible and responsive companies for battery electric bus procurement to be furnished to the Town of Chapel Hill, N.C. Sealed Bids will be received by the Purchasing & Contracts Manager at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514, on May 22nd, 2019 at 2:00 p.m., at which time they will be publicly opened and read.

The Town intends to order 40 foot Heavy Duty, Low Floor, Battery Electric Transit Buses, charging units, optional equipment, identified spare parts, and special tools over the course of a five (5) year contract period.

The Town will hold a pre-bid conference on February 26 at 2:00 p.m. in the Admin Conference Room, Chapel Hill Transit, 2 nd floor, 6900 Millhouse Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27516. All potential proposers are invited to attend however attendance is not mandatory. Participants can choose to join via conference call. The call-in information is below:

Call-in #: 712-832-8330

Access Code: 7592587

Instructions to Bidders, Specifications, Schedule of Events, and all required forms can be obtained from the Town’s website at www.townofchapelhill.org (Click on “Bid Notices” option). All questions must be submitted in writing to Kathryn McMillan, Procurement Specialist, at kmcmillan@townofchapelhill.org by 5:00 p.m., March 26, 2019. Responses to the questions received will be issued as an Addendum by April 23, 2019 and will be published on the Town’s website.

Proposal submittal questions should be directed to Zakia Alam, Purchasing and Contracts Manager, at (919) 969-5022 or email at zalam@townofchapelhill.org .

Three (3) hard copies of the proposal plus one (1) digital copy of all materials on compact discs (CDs) or Electronic Memory Drive in pdf format must be submitted in a sealed envelope, clearly marked with “Bid P19-108: 40ft Heavy Duty Low Floor Battery Electric Buses” on the exterior. Bids shall be addressed to:

Purchasing and Contracts Manager
Town of Chapel Hill
405 Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

It is the responsibility of the Bidder to have the Bids delivered to the address above by the specified time and date of opening. The Town does not take responsibility for any Bids not delivered on time and shall be returned unopened.

The Town reserves the right to accept or reject any and all offers and to accept the bid most favorable to the Town of Chapel Hill.

Attachments

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1. NOTICE TO BIDDERS

BID: P19-108

TO: ALL PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS

FROM: Zakia Alam, Purchasing and Contract Manager

SUBJECT: Invitation for Bids (IFB) for Purchase of 40’ Heavy Duty, Low Floor Battery Electric Transit Buses and Charging Unit

DATE: February 12, 2019

Pursuant to Section 143-129 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the Town of Chapel Hill (herein referred to as “Town”) is inviting sealed Bids from responsible and responsive companies for battery electric bus procurement to be furnished to the Town of Chapel Hill, N.C. Sealed Bids will be received by the Purchasing & Contracts Manager at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514, on May 22nd, 2019 at 2:00 p.m., at which time they will be publicly opened and read.

The Town intends to order 40 foot Heavy Duty, Low Floor, Battery Electric Transit Buses, charging units, optional equipment, identified spare parts, and special tools over the course of a five (5) year contract period.

The Town will hold a pre-bid conference on February 26 at 2:00 p.m. in the Admin Conference Room, Chapel Hill Transit, 2nd floor, 6900 Millhouse Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27516. All potential proposers are invited to attend however attendance is not mandatory. Participants can choose to join via conference call. The call-in information is below:

Call-in #: 712-832-8330

Access Code: 7592587

Instructions to Bidders, Specifications, Schedule of Events, and all required forms can be obtained from the Town’s website at www.townofchapelhill.org (Click on “Bid Notices” option). All questions must be submitted in writing to Kathryn McMillan, Procurement Specialist, at kmcmillan@townofchapelhill.org by 5:00 p.m., March 26, 2019. Responses to the questions received will be issued as an Addendum by April 23, 2019 and will be published on the Town’s website.

Proposal submittal questions should be directed to Zakia Alam, Purchasing and Contracts Manager, at (919) 969-5022 or email at zalam@townofchapelhill.org .

Three (3) hard copies of the proposal plus one (1) digital copy of all materials on compact discs (CDs) or Electronic Memory Drive in pdf format must be submitted in a sealed envelope, clearly marked with “Bid P19-108: 40ft Heavy Duty Low Floor Battery Electric Buses” on the exterior. Bids shall be addressed to:

Purchasing and Contracts Manager

Town of Chapel Hill

405 Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

It is the responsibility of the Bidder to have the Bids delivered to the address above by the specified time and date of opening. The Town does not take responsibility for any Bids not delivered on time and shall be returned unopened.

The Town reserves the right to accept or reject any and all offers and to accept the bid most favorable to the Town of Chapel Hill.

1.


2. SOLICITATION, OFFER, AND AWARD

2.1 SOLICITATION INFORMATION

2.1.1 AGENCY INFORMATION

Invitation for Bid 40ft Heavy Duty, Low Floor Battery Electric Transit Buses and Charging Unit

Bid Number P19-108

Publication Date February 12, 2019

Procuring Agency Town of Chapel Hill

Address 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514

Procurement Officer Kathryn McMillan, Procurement Specialist

Telephone No 919-969-4943

Email kmcmillan@townofchapelhill.org

2.1.2 AGENCY PROVISIONS

The Town reserves the right to accept or reject any and all Bids, to waive minor technicalities and informalities, and to make an award deemed in its best interest.

By submitting a Bid, the Bidder implicitly agrees that federal, state, and local rules, regulations, and statutes will be part of the Bid Award and any contract executed as a result of this solicitation. These include, but are not limited to, the General Statutes of the State of North Carolina, the federal requirements contained in the Federal Transit Administration (hereinafter called the "FTA") Master Agreement dated October 1, 2014, as amended, including any certifications and contractual provisions required by any federal statutes or regulations referenced therein. Other federal procurement requirements in FTA Circular 4220.1F as amended are also included.

Similarly, the Town purchasing and contracting requirements, insofar as they apply to purchasing and competitive bidding, are made a part hereof.

2.1.3 QUANTITIES & ELIGIBLE AGENCIES

The identified minimum and maximum number of buses, charging stations, alternate equipment that may be approved under the Approved Equals process, or optional equipment to be purchased under any contract awarded is contingent on the Town securing federal, state, or local funding. This number may vary depending upon Bids received and available financing. The quantities listed below are estimates for the Town and are submitted as a guide based on local plans.

Year

2019-2020

2020-2021

2021-2022

2022-2023

2023-2024

40ft Electric Transit Bus

2

5

5

5

5

The Town is serving as the procuring agency for this bid. The following agencies have expressed interest in procuring 40ft heavy duty, low floor battery electric transit buses from any resulting contract and shall be eligible for participation of the following quantities for the duration of any five (5) year contract resulting from this solicitation.

AGENCY

QUANTITIES

City of Raleigh

5

Iredell County Area Public Transit

5

The minimum number of buses anticipated to be purchased as a result of this solicitation is two (2) with the maximum number of thirty-two (32) buses to be purchased. Purchase Orders under the Town’s contract executed as a result of this solicitation may be placed at any time from the Contract execution date to a date not to exceed five (5) years after execution.

2.1.4 FUNDING SOURCE REQUIREMENTS

The resultant contract may be funded in part or in full with appropriations provided from federal and state funding sources. All Bidders must certify that they will follow all federal requirements identified in this IFB. All Bidders must provide signed certifications and assurance documentation with the Bids as described in Section 2.8 REQUIRED FORMS AND INFORMATION, using the required attachments. Any updates and modifications to federal and/or state certifications and assurances not contained herein will be made available to all Bidders if such action occurs. The successful Bidder must comply with any and all modifications that are enacted by the federal, state, or local governments throughout the life of the Award and for any contract it executes with the Town.

All Bidders must certify they are not on the Comptroller General’s list of ineligible contractors. The single successful Bidder shall be required to comply with all applicable Equal Employment Opportunity laws and regulations. Disadvantaged Business Enterprises will be afforded full opportunity to submit Bids and compete for subcontracting work and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.

2.1.5 SOLICITATION SCHEDULE

The following is a tentative solicitation schedule for this IFB. If any dates change as a result of such activities as the Request for Clarifications, potential Bidders will be informed by Addenda:

Activity

Completion Time/Date (location

Release IFB and Advertise

February 12th, 2019

Pre-Bid Conference

February 26th, 2019, 2 p.m.

Town of Chapel Hill Transit

6900 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Receive Requests for Clarification and Requests for Approved Equals

March 26th, 2019, Until 5:00 p.m. EST

Answer Requests for Clarification and Approved Equals

April 23rd, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. EST

Bid Submission Time and Public Opening

May 22nd, 2019, 2:00 p.m. EST

Town of Chapel Hill

405 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

1ST Floor Conference Room #102

Evaluation and Approval by Town Council

May –June 2019 (Tentative)

Bid Award

June 2019 (Tentative)

2.1.6 ASSIGNABILITY

The Town reserves the right to assign any portion of the vehicles awarded under this Contract, including optional quantities to eligible agencies to purchase equivalent vehicle(s) as described in the specifications at the same submitted unit price, adjusted for options, for this purchase. This assignment, should it occur, shall be agreed to by the Town and the Contractor. Once assigned, each entity will enter into its own contract and be solely responsible to the contractor for obligations to the buses assigned. The Town’s right of assignment will remain in force over the five (5) year period or until completion of the maximum purchase quantity, whichever occurs first. The Town shall incur no financial responsibility in connection with contracts issued by another government entity. Other government entities shall accept sole responsibility for placing orders or payments to the contractor.

2.2 INSTRUCTION TO BIDDERS

2.2.1 BIDDER COMMUNICATIONS

All correspondence or communications in regard to any aspect of this solicitation shall be in writing via e-mail to the Procurement Specialist at the Town of Chapel Hill identified in Section 2.1.1 – “Agency Information”. It will be the Bidder’s responsibility to ensure that electronic correspondence is identical in content to the official written copies. It will be the Bidder’s responsibility to ensure that any electronic correspondence has been received by the Procurement Specialist.

The Town will not respond to any oral request except those made at the pre-bid conference. Such responses will be tentative until confirmed by an addendum, and therefore shall not be official or binding to the Town.

Bidders may make Requests for Approved Equals, Clarifications, and Deviations up to the time specified in the “Solicitation Schedule”, Section 2.1.5. Bidders must use the procedures, forms, and spreadsheets provided in 2.8.1. Using these defined procedures, Bidders may request a clarification or interpretation of any aspect of the solicitation package, or a change to any requirement of the solicitation or any Addenda issued.

If it should appear to a prospective Bidder that the specifications or instructions in this IFB, or any of the matters relating thereto, are not sufficiently described or explained in the IFB, or that any conflict or discrepancy exists between different parts of the IFB or with any federal, state, or local law, ordinance, rule, regulation or other standard or requirement, then the Bidder shall submit a written Request for Clarification within the time period specified in Section 2.1.5 above and according to the procedures in Section 2.8.1, Requests Approved Equal, Clarification, or Deviation.

2.2.2 BID POSTPONEMENT AND ADDENDA

The Town reserves the right to revise or amend the specification up to seven days before the bid opening. Any revisions or amendments to specifications shall be announced by Addenda to this solicitation on the Town of Chapel Hill website under “Bid Notices”. If any revisions and amendments requires changes in quantities or prices, or both, the date set for opening Bids may be postponed by such number of days as in the opinion of the Town shall enable Bidders sufficient time to revise their Bids.

2.2.3 SPECIFICATIONS

The items herein requested shall be furnished in accordance with the bid requirements and the included specifications. The process for Requesting Approved Equals, Clarification, or Deviations can be found in section 2.8.1

Please note: in accordance with FTA’s bus testing requirements, the bus testing report must be submitted before acceptance of the first bus. Any differences in major components such as engine or transmission must be submitted as supplemental information to show that these components have been tested as well. Bus testing reports that are submitted that do not meet the required specification or are incomplete, may be cause for contract termination.

In addition, bus test reports with class 1 and 2 failures in them will not be accepted. Only class 3 and 4 failures on the bus testing report will be accepted on the report. The vendor must also submit evidence that these failures have been corrected on the bus and had follow up testing to show that the problem was eliminated before the acceptance of any bus.

2.2.4 BID WITHDRAWAL

A Bidder may request to withdraw their Bid after the bid opening if credible evidence can be submitted that the Bid was based on a mistake that, per N.C.G.S. 143-129.1, constituted a substantial “unintentional arithmetic error or unintentional omission” – but not a judgement error- in the preparation of the Bid. Requests must be submitted in writing no later than seventy-two (72) hours after the bid opening.

If the Town determines that the error meets the standard under N.C.G.S 143-129.1, the Bid may be withdrawn. A Bidder who requests withdrawal cannot participate in the solicitation or any contract resulting from the solicitation, even if the IFB is re-advertised.

Bids may be modified or withdrawn by the Bidder’s authorized representative prior to the date and time set for the bid opening. If the modification is made in person it shall be done by an authorized representative that will be provided a secluded location to make said adjustments. It will be the Offeror’s responsibility to provide a new envelope to seal the revised bid package. If a bid is withdrawn in person, it must be by the Bidder’s authorized representative who shall present proper identification and shall sign a receipt of Bid.

2.3 BID REQUIREMENTS

2.3.1 DUE DATES

Bids will be received until 2:00 p.m. EST on May 22nd, 2019 at which point they will be opened. All bids should be mailed to or delivered in person to the Town of Chapel Hill Purchasing & Contract Manager at 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27516. Bid opening will take place in the 1st floor conference room. Late Bids will not be considered and will be returned unopened.

2.3.2 BID PREPERATION

Each Bid submitted should be only on the Offer Form, Attachment AB, to be included in the sealed envelope with the name, address of the Bidder, the due date, the Bid # P19-108 and shall be addressed to the Town of Chapel Hill Purchasing & Contract Manager clearly marked on the outside. All blank spaces on the form must be filled in and no changes shall be made in the wording. A completely executed Pricing Schedule(s), Bidder Vehicle Technical information and required forms, certifications, and attachments must be included with the Bid. See Section 2.8 for a listing of the required forms to submit. All bids must be signed by an authorized representative of the firm. Bids may be rejected if they contain any omissions, alterations to forms, additions not called for, conditional Bid, or any irregularities of any kind.

2.3.3 PRICING SCHEDULE

The Bidder is required to include in its Bid, completed and executed Pricing Schedule Forms, including the Pricing Schedules for all Alternate and Optional Equipment, Spare Parts, Plug-in Charging Stations and creditable items listed throughout Section 7, Technical Specifications, for the vehicle being bid. See Section 2.8, Other Required Forms and Information for instructions and Attachment numbers. The pricing shall not include sales tax. The successful Bidder should add sales tax to their invoice when billing the Town, unless a sales tax exemption certificate is present at the time of invoicing on any Purchase Order resulting from this solicitation process.

2.3.4 DELIVERY SCHEDULE

The Bidder agrees to deliver buses from any purchase order created under a contract executed by the Town resulting from this solicitation within a maximum of 540 calendar days (18 months) from the date of the purchase order.

2.3.5 TAXES

The Town shall be liable for state and local sales taxes applicable to the complete bus as delivered. The Town is exempt from federal excise tax.

2.4 QUALIFICATION FOR AWARD

2.4.1 BID REQUIREMENTS

Bids must include all of the following information to be considered for award. All information should be presented in the order listed in the format of each attachment if so defined.

Attachment A- Bid Submission Checklist: The checklist was developed as a tool to assist Bidders and the Town in ensuring full responsiveness of Bids. All requirements are listed on Attachment A.

Attachment B- Cover Letter: Include a summary of Bidder’s ability to perform the services described herein and statement that Bidder is willing to perform those services if it receives the Award and subsequent contract with the Town as a result of the solicitation. The cover letter must be signed by a person having the authority to commit Bidder to acceptance of the Bid award and any contracts made by the Town.

Attachment C- Base Bus Pricing Proposal: Indicate pricing with detailed explanation of the amounts shown. Any Bidder who submits pricing but fails to include all aspects of the project in their total cost will be deemed non-responsive. Price should list only the base bus total. Options should be included on designated option Price Schedule on Attachments D, E, and F.

Attachment G- Bidder Vehicle Technical Information: The Bidder shall submit with its Bid, for review by the Town, the Vehicle Technical information Data Sheets to confirm their proposed vehicle and components are in compliance with the requirements of the Technical Specifications.

Attachment H- Comprehensive Quality Assurance Program Plan: Provide a detailed written plan for addressing all possible manufacturing, testing, and related issues through a Quality Assurance Organization based on the requirements in Section 4 of this IFB, Quality Assurance Provisions. For example, Bidders may want to describe how its QA program applies QS-9000/ISO 9000 series of standards to provide exceptional quality products, how the Bidder structures pre-production meetings for bus purchases of this nature; whether and how the Bidder provides official documentation through written minutes, and whether the Bidder feels its offers advantages over its competitors in how it undertakes all tests and inspections in Section 4.

Attachment I- Comprehensive Warranty Program Plan: Provide a detailed written plan for addressing all possible warranty requirements described in Section 5, Warranty Provisions. This includes, but is not limited to, Bidder’s approach to fleet deflects, repair performance, on-site repairs, allowances for customer to perform warranty repairs, etc. Plan should include description of engineering, management and service organizations with sufficient personnel and requisite disciplines, licenses, skills, experience, and equipment to complete the warranty provisions as required and satisfy an engineering or service problems that may arise during the warranty period, as specified elsewhere in the bid package

Attachment J- Comprehensive Spare Parts Program Plan: Provide a detailed written plan of how the bidder will ensure that spare parts will be available during the entire period of each vehicle’s useful life. This includes, but is not limited to, a spare parts procurement and distribution system sufficient to support equipment maintenance without delays and a service organization with skills, experience, and equipment sufficient to perform all warranty and on-site work, as specified elsewhere in the bid package.

Attachment K- Comprehensive Training Program Plan: Provide a detailed, written plan of how the Bidder will provide an appropriate program of training and technical support to the operator, servicing, and maintenance personnel. Failure to provide a sufficiently detailed training program may cause a Bid to be considered non-responsive. The plan shall include, as specified here and in Section 6 of this IFB, but not limited to, the following elements:

All training modules described shall include training and testing materials, specific tools, equipment, and identified training aids. Thirty (30) days prior to the delivery of the first bus to the Town, the contractor will provide the Town with a CD-ROM using pdf format and fifty (50) loose leaf copies of all lesson plans, training guides, student workbooks, along with any other videos, transparencies or additional instructional training aids. The contractor shall inform the Town of any training support equipment and/or supplies required to be supplied by the Town for the contractor portion of the training.

Attachment L- Financial Capability: Bidders will need to demonstrate that they have the financial strength to maintain adequate cash flow to support the manufacturing capacity and capabilities to meet the maximum required delivery schedule in Section 2.3.4, to produce vehicles of the quality implied by Section 4, Quality Assurance and as expressed by each Bidder in their submission of Attachment H: Comprehensive Quality Assurance Program Plan, pay its bills on time and meet obligations to subcontractors under this agreement.

Attachment M- References: Bidder should provide at least three (3) references for agencies that can confirm the Bidder’s vehicle reliability and manufacturer’s credibility. The agency reserves the right to request additional references from any Bidder to obtain information from transit operators who solicited similar equipment. The Town may contact these users to determine quality level of the offered equipment.

2.5 BID EVALUATION

The Town will evaluate all submitted Bids for responsiveness and responsibility based on the requirements listed in this IFB. An award resulting from this solicitation shall be awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible Bidder whose Bid is determined to be the most advantageous to the Town. The Town will take into consideration price, delivery schedules, approved equals, and optional equipment. The Town reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids. The Town reserves the right to waive minor informalities and technicalities in so far as it is authorized to do so where it deems it advisable in protection of the best interest of the Town.

The Bid evaluations will also take into account product design as specified in Section 7 and as modified by Approved Equals and Deviations. Bidders are encouraged to include graphics that show the vehicle it is proposing in its response to Section 7.

2.5.1 BASE BUS PRICING PROPOSAL

The Bidder must provide the proposed cost for a single base bus, after any Request for Approved Equals or Deviations have been evaluated (Attachment C).

The total costs for comparison to other Bids will then be calculated by adding any optional equipment and services, spare parts, warranty, or training costs the Town decides to accept in its best interest as described in Pricing Schedules for Options in Attachment D, E, and F.

2.5.2 MEASURES OF BIDDER RESPONSIBILITY

A Responsible Bidder is a company, which based on its Bid, references, and other pertinent information, has demonstrated it has the ability, willingness, and integrity to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of the Award and contract resulting from the solicitation. Consideration shall be given to such matters as defined in this IFB.

The Bidder must show proof of the following to establish to the Town that they are able to meet the requirements of this IFB by providing:

Financial Capability (Attachment L): Bidders will need to demonstrate that they have the financial strength to maintain adequate cash flow to support the manufacturing capacity and capabilities to meet the maximum required delivery schedule in Section 2.3.4, to produce vehicles of the quality implied by Section 4, Quality Assurance and as expressed by each Bidder in their submission of Attachment H: Comprehensive Quality Assurance Program Plan, pay its bills on time and meet obligations to subcontractors under this agreement.

References (Attachment M): Bidder provides evidence of satisfactory performance and integrity on contracts in making deliveries on time, meeting specifications and warranty provisions, parts availability, and steps Bidder took to resolve any judgments, liens, fleet defect history, and warranty claims. Evidence shall be by client reference.

2.6 AWARD PROCEDURE

The Town will evaluate all Bids submitted for responsiveness and responsibility based off the requirements included in the solicitation documents to determine the lowest responsive and responsible.

2.6.1 BID REJECTION

The Town reserves the right to accept or reject any or all Bids, to waive minor technicalities and informalities, and unless previously requested by the Bidder as an Approved Equal, to only accept items as specified in the solicitation package. In case of conflict, unit price will take precedence over unit price extension. Bids with incomplete documents or insufficient Federal certifications will be considered nonresponsive and will be rejected.

2.6.2 SINGLE BID RESPONSE

If a single bid is submitted in response to this solicitation, the Town may request a detailed cost Bid from the single Bidder. A cost/price analysis and evaluation and/or audit may be performed of the cost Bid in order to determine if the price is fair and reasonable.

2.6.3 DURATION OF CONTRACT

The term of any contract the Town awards based off of responses to the solicitation will be for five (5) years from the date the contract is fully executed.

2.6.4 CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

As provided by North Carolina statute and rule, the Town will consider keeping confidential the trade secrets, which the Bidder does not wish to be disclosed. For such information, the Bidder must mark each page in boldface at the top and bottom as “CONFIDENTIAL”. Cost information shall not be deemed confidential. In spite of what is labeled as a trade secret, the determination whether it is or not will be determined by North Carolina General Statues 132-1.2(1).

2.7 PROTEST PROCEDURE

2.7.1 STATEMENT OF POLICY

The Town is responsible, using good administrative practices and sound business judgement, for resolving all contractual and administrative issues, including protests of evaluations and contract awards, arising out of its third party procurements.

In general, the FTA will not substitute its judgement for that of a grant recipient unless the matter is primarily a federal concern. Nevertheless, the FTA can become involved in the Town’s administrative decisions when a protest decision made by the Town is appealed to the FTA, or when the Town seeks to use FTA assistance to support the costs of settlements or other resolutions of protests, disputes, claims, or litigation.

The Town shall give timely notification to the FTA when it receives a third party procurement protest and will keep the FTA informed about the status of any such protest. The Town shall disclose all information about any third party procurement protest to the FTA upon request.

The Town’s procedure for addressing third party procurement protests is described in Section 2.7.2 below.

2.7.2 PROTEST PROVISIONS

The Town, within its discretion, may postpone the deadline for submissions of Bids, but in any case, shall provide a written response to all protests no later than five (5) business days prior to the deadline of submission of Bids. If the deadline for submission of Bids is postponed by the Town as the result of a protest, the postponement will be announced through an Addendum to the solicitation.

A. SUBMITTAL PROCEDURES

An interested party wishing to protest a matter involving a proposed procurement or contract award shall file a written submission with the procurement official by certified mail or other delivery method by which receipt can be verified. Electronic submission of protests is not acceptable unless an original signed copy of the protest is received by the procurement official within 24 hours (not including weekends and holidays) after receipt of the electronic copy. The procurement official may, however, permit the electronic provision of supplemental information after the initial protest submittal. The protest shall include, at a minimum:

• The name and address of the protesting party and its relationship to the procurement sufficient to establish that the protest is being filed by an interested party;

• Identity of the contact person for the protestor, including name, title, address, telephone, fax and email addresses. If the contact point is a third party representing the protester, the same information must be provided, plus a statement defining the relationship between the protester and the third party.

• Identification of the procurement;

• A description of the nature of the protest, referencing the portion(s) of the solicitation involved;

• Identification of the provision(s) of any law, regulation, or other governance upon which the protest is based;

• A compete discussion of the basis for the protest, including all supporting facts, documents or data; and

• A statement of the specific relief requested.

• A notarized affirmation by the protestor (if an individual) or by an owner or officer of the protestor (if not an individual) as to the truth and accuracy of the statements made in the protest submittal.

The protestor is solely responsible for the completeness and validity of the information provided. Any documents relevant to the protest should be attached to the written submission. Documents which are readily available on the Internet may be referenced to an appropriate link.

Protests shall be submitted in accordance with the requirements of this Chapter and any directions included in the solicitation, and shall be addressed to the procurement official. Unless otherwise specified in the solicitation, the written protest shall be accompanied by an electronic copy (CD) in PDF format. In case of a variance in the content of the written and CD submittals, the written version shall prevail.

The Town may decide a protest solely upon the written submission. The protest submission should therefore include all materials necessary to support the protester’s position. Additional or supplemental materials may only be submitted at the request of, or with the permission of, the procurement official.

If the procurement uses federal funds, an informal notice of receipt of a protest must be given to the appropriate regional office of the FTA. The form of notice may be specified by the regional office.

B. PROTESTS OF THE SOLICITATION PROCESS

A protest related to the technical scope or specification, terms, conditions, or form of a solicitation must be received no later than ten (10) working days prior to the date established for opening of bids or receipt of proposals; if the protest addresses an amendment to the solicitation, it must be received no later than ten (10) working days prior to the date established for opening bids or receipt of proposals or five (5) working days after the date of issuance of the amendment, whichever is later; in no event, however, may a protest of this nature be submitted after bids or proposals are received. The protest must conform in all respects to the requirements set forth in this Section.

Upon receipt of such a protest, the procurement official shall notify all prospective offerors and other known interested parties of the receipt and nature of the protest, and shall post a notice of the protest on the Town’s procurement web page. Unless the procurement official determines that delay will be prejudicial to the interest of the Town or that the protest patently lacks substantial merit, the solicitation process will be extended pending resolution of the protest.

Protests will be considered and either denied or sustained, in part or in whole, by the procurement official in writing. A written decision specifying the grounds for sustaining all or part of or denying the protest will be transmitted to the protestor prior to the receipt of bids or proposals in a manner that provides verification of receipt.

A notice of the decision shall be provided to all parties given notice of the protest, and posted to the Town’s procurement web page.

Should the protest be upheld in whole or in substantial part, the procurement official may either (1) amend the solicitation to correct the document or process accordingly; or (2) cancel the solicitation in its entirety. If the solicitation is amended, the time for receipt of bids or proposals shall be equitably extended to permit all participants to revise their bids or proposals to reflect the decision. If the protest is denied, the solicitation shall proceed as if FTA as defined below, or otherwise appeals the decision of the procurement official, as defined below.

Protests received by the Town after the time periods specified above shall be considered untimely and may be denied on that basis unless the procurement official concludes that the issue(s) raised by the protest involves substantial prejudice to the integrity of the procurement process.

C. PROTESTS OF THE EVALUATION PROCESS

All bidders/proposers will be notified of the recommended award, upon a determination by the Town staff of a recommendation to be made to the Procurement Officer as appropriate. This notice will be transmitted to each proposer at the address contained in its proposal form, and shall be posted on the procurement page of the Town website. Transmittal may be by electronic means or by hard copy. Any proposer whose proposal is valid at the time of the staff determination may protest the recommended award on one or more of the following grounds:

• That the recommended awardee does not meet the requirements of the solicitation;

• That the bid or proposal recommended for acceptance does not meet the criteria of the solicitation for award;

• That the evaluation process conducted by the Town is improper, illegal, or the decision to recommend award is arbitrary and capricious.

The protest must conform in all respects to the requirements set forth in this Section.

The protest must be received by the Town at the address specified in the solicitation, no later than five (5) calendar days after the date such notification is publicly posted or sent to the bidder or proposer, whichever is earlier. A written decision stating the grounds for allowing or denying the protest will be transmitted to the protestor and the proposer recommended for award in a manner that provides verification of receipt. Such decision shall be final, except as provided in this section or by applicable law or regulation.

Upon receipt of a protest of this type, the procurement official shall notify all offerors and any other known interested parties of the receipt and nature of the protest and request an extension of the validity period of their offers, if appropriate. Unless the procurement official determines that delay will be prejudicial to the interest of the Town or that the protest lacks substantial merit, award will be withheld pending disposition of the protest. Should one or more offerors refuse a requested extension of the validity of an offer, the procurement official may reject such proposal unless it is determined that the protest can reasonably be resolved and the award process continued without need for such extension. Delay in an award shall be considered prejudicial to the Town if:

• The equipment, supplies or services are urgently required; or

• Failure to make a prompt award will economically or operationally damage the Town.

Should the protest be upheld in whole or in substantial part, the procurement official may either (1) revise the evaluation process to correct the matter protested; or (2) cancel the solicitation in its entirety.

If the Town proceeds with an award for one of the reasons stated above, and the protest is subsequently upheld, the procurement official shall determine whether the performance of the contract will reasonably permit its termination in order to correct the protested matter. Such termination shall be for the convenience of the Town.

D. EVALUATION PROCESS

A protest decision should ordinarily be written and published within ten (10) working days of receipt of the protest. The procurement official may extend the response period if additional time is required to gather and evaluate information necessary for the decision or for other good cause. Upon receipt of a protest, the procurement official shall notify parties involved in the procurement as identified above, and such Town personnel or others as may be appropriate or necessary to determine the validity of the protest. A notice of the receipt of a protest should be sent to the FTA regional office, per FTA Circular 4220.1F. Copies of the protest submittal, or portions thereof, may be provided to the notified parties as appropriate.

The procurement official may request additional written information from the protestor or other parties, as necessary to determine the validity of the protest. A formal or informal hearing may be held. If a formal hearing is held, testimony shall be given under oath and a transcript or electronic recording of the proceeding shall be made; the transcript or recording shall be provided to the protestor and made part of the protest record.

The procurement official shall redact from any submission under the protest process information which has been identified as proprietary, and which, in his/her judgment, is protected from disclosure, prior to furnishing such submission to any other party, unless the person furnishing the information consents, in writing, to distribution of the information to other interested parties.

E. DECISION

Upon receipt and evaluation of all relevant information, including any pertinent law or regulations, the Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) Procurement Manager, with approval from the Town Attorney’s Office, shall prepare a decision. The decision will contain four parts:

I. SUMMARY – Describes briefly the protesting party, the solicitation involved, the issues(s) raised, and the decision.

II. BACKGROUND – Describes in more detail the history of the solicitation and the procurement events leading to the protest, the date the protest was received, and the process by which it was evaluated.

III. DISCUSSION – Identifies the issue or issues raised by the protestor, and the factors considered in reaching a decision, and the rationale for the decision.

IV. DETERMINATION – States the decision and any remedy or subsequent action, e.g. cancellation of the procurement, resulting from it.

Ordinarily, each issue raised in the protest will be discussed separately in Parts III and IV.

Decisions shall be signed and issued by the procurement official. The decision shall be issued to the protestor; other interested parties shall receive either a copy of the decision or a notice of decision, as appropriate. Where appropriate, transmittal may be electronic, followed by hard copy. The protest document, the decision, and all other documentation related to the decision shall be public record except as otherwise provided by the N.C.G.S. or the Town’s regulations and policies.

Decisions of the procurement official may be appealed to the Procurement Officer by the protestor within five (5) working days after the decision is issued to the protestor. The appeal shall be in writing, addressed to the Procurement Officer with a copy to the procurement official, and shall state with specificity the basis for the appeal. The Procurement Officer or designee shall review the written record of the protest and may conduct such further investigation as is deemed necessary or appropriate to reach a decision. The decision of the Procurement Officer will ordinarily be issued within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of the appeal; this time period may be extended if necessary to complete an investigation.

The decision of the Procurement Officer shall be final and conclusive, except for such remedies as state or federal law or regulation may provide.

F. RECORD OF PROTEST TO FTA

Upon receipt of a protest involving FTA funded contracts, FTA shall be notified, and shall be kept informed of the status of the protest until resolved. Protest information to be reported to FTA includes

a. Subject

A list of protests involving FTA funded contracts or potential contracts that:

• Have a value exceeding $100,000, or

• Involve a controversial matter, irrespective of amount, or

• Involve a highly publicized matter, irrespective of amount.

b. Details

The following information about each protest:

• A brief description of the protest,

• The basis of disagreement, and

• If open, how far the protest has proceeded, or

• If resolved, the agreement decision reached, and

• Whether an appeal has been taken or is likely to be taken.

c. When and Where

The following information about each protest:

• In its next quarterly FTA quarterly Milestone Progress Report, and

• At its next Project Management Oversight review, if any.

d. FTA Officials to be notified

When CHT denies a bid protest, and especially if an appeal to FTA is likely to occur, CHT’s FTA Regional Administrator is to be notified, or the FTA Associate Administrator for the program office administering a headquarters project directly. The procurement official shall establish a separate file in which a complete record of the protest shall be maintained. The file shall constitute a separate portion of the overall procurement file. The procurement protest file shall include reasonable and adequate documentation of the protest and outcome of the protest. Protest file documentation should be proportional to the size and complexity of the protest. The protest file should, at a minimum, include the following:

• The protest, including supporting documentation

• Record of determination of protest timeliness

• Record of internal distribution of protest

• Record of notice to FTA, if federal funds are involved.

• Record of internal responses to protest

• Record of legal review

• Determination and findings, including supporting documentation

• Protester response / appeal

• Result of appeal

• Notice of cancellation of solicitation, if applicable

G. PROTESTS FILED WITH FTA

A protestor may file a protest with FTA only after exhausting all administrative remedies provided by CHT. FTA’s review of protests will generally be limited to allegations that (1) CHT does not have or fails to follow its protest procedures; (2) CHT failed to review a complaint or protest; or (3) the issue involves violations of Federal law or regulation. The FTA is not obligated to review any protest.

Protests addressing the CHT’s DBE program may be submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, in accordance with 49 CFR Part 26 and guidance issued there under.

2.8 REQUIRED FORMS AND INFORMATION

2.8.1 INSTRUCTIONS REQUEST FOR APPROVED EQUAL, CLARIFICATION, OR DEVIATION

The following instructions explain how prospective Bidders may obtain additional information or clarifications for any part of this solicitation package. All Requests for Clarifications (RFC), Request for Approved Equals (RAE), and Request for Deviations (RFD) (collectively referred to as “Request”) must be submitted following these instructions and on the forms provided. All forms should be submitted electronically in a searchable PDF format. Furthermore, summary information for RAEs and RFDs must be entered into an electronic version of the attached Summary Tables (in MS Excel Format) attached in electronic format as described below Deadlines for submitting Requests must be the date(s) indicated in the Solicitation Schedule, Section 2.1.5. The Town shall be the sole judge as to evaluation of and response to the Requests that may include the comparative quality and suitability of alternative equipment, material, or process. The Town’s decisions shall be final.

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