Each contract shall be awarded after formal advertising, unless negotiation is permitted in accordance with § 35.936-18. Formal advertising shall be in accordance with the following:
(a)Adequate public notice. The grantee will cause adequate notice to be given of the solicitation by publication in newspapers or journals of general circulation beyond the grantee's locality (statewide, generally), inviting bids on the project work, and stating the method by which bidding documents may be obtained or examined. Where the estimated cost of step 3 construction is $10 million or more, the grantee must generally publish the notice in trade journals of nationwide distribution. The grantee should, in addition, solicit bids directly from bidders if it maintains a bidders list.
(b)Adequate time for preparing bids. Adequate time, generally not less than 30 days, must be allowed between the date when public notice under paragraph (a) of this section is first published and the date by which bids must be submitted. Bidding documents (including specifications and drawings) shall be available to prospective bidders from the date when such notice is first published.
(c)Adequate bidding documents. The grantee shall prepare a reasonable number of bidding documents (invitations for bids) and shall furnish them upon request on a first-come, first-served basis. The grantee shall maintain a complete set of bidding documents and shall make them available for inspection and copying by any party. The bidding documents shall include:
(1) A complete statement of the work to be performed, including necessary drawings and specifications, and the required completion schedule. (Drawings and specifications may be made available for inspection and purchase, instead of being furnished.);
(2) The terms and conditions of the contract to be awarded;
(3) A clear explanation of the method of bidding and the method of evaluation of bid prices, and the basis and method for award of the contract;
(4) Responsibility requirements or criteria which will be employed in evaluating bidders;
(5) The following statement:
Any contract or contracts awarded under this invitation for bids are expected to be funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Neither the United States nor any of its departments, agencies or employees is or will be a party to this invitation for bids or any resulting contract. This procurement will be subject to regulations contained in 40 CFR 35.936, 35.938, and 35.939.;
(d)Sealed bids. The grantee shall provide for bidding by sealed bid and for the safeguarding of bids received until public opening.
(e)Addenda to bidding documents. If a grantee desires to amend any part of the bidding documents (including drawings and specifications) during the period when bids are being prepared, the addenda shall be communicated in writing to all firms which have obtained bidding documents in time to be considered before the bid opening time.
(f)Bid modifications. A firm which has submitted a bid shall be allowed to modify or withdraw its bid before the time of bid opening.
(g)Public opening of bids. The grantee shall provide for a public opening of bids at the place, date and time announced in the bidding documents.
(h)Award to the low, responsive, responsible bidder.
(1) After bids are opened, the grantee shall evaluate them in accordance with the methods and criteria set forth in the bidding documents.
(2) The grantee may reserve the right to reject all bids. Unless all bids are rejected for good cause, award shall be made to the low, responsive, responsible bidder.
(3) If the grantee intends to make the award to a firm which did not submit the lowest bid, he shall prepare a written statement before any award, explaining why each lower bidder was deemed nonresponsible or nonresponsive, and shall retain it in his files.
(4) State or local laws, ordinances, regulations or procedures which are designed or which operate to give local or in-State bidders preference over other bidders shall not be employed in evaluating bids.
(5) If an unresolved procurement review issue or a protest relates only to award of a subcontract or procurement of a subitem under the prime contract, and resolution of that issue or protest is unduly delaying performance of the prime contract, the Regional Administrator may authorize award and performance of the prime contract before resolution of the issue or protest, if the Regional Administrator determines that:
(i) Resolution of the protest—
(A) Will not affect the placement of the prime contract bidders; and
(B) Will not materially affect initial performance of the prime contract; and that
(ii) Award of the prime contract—
(A) Is in the Government's best interest;
(B) Will not materially affect resolution of the protest; and
(C) Is not barred by State law.
(6) The grantee shall not reject a bid as nonresponsive for failure to list or otherwise indicate the selection of a subcontractor(s) or equipment, unless the grantee has unambiguously stated in the solicitation documents that such failure to list shall render a bid nonresponsive and shall cause rejection of a bid.
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