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Home>About Us>Procurement>Doing Business with VTA: Policies

Doing Business with VTA: Policies

Statement of Purpose

CAMM’s purpose is to provide its customers with the goods and services required to provide efficient, reliable, safe and economical transportation, while safeguarding the public interest.

In order to fulfill our purpose, CAMM will:

  • Maximize the use of "Full and Open Competition"
  • Treat all prospective sources in a "Fair and Equitable" manner;
  • Ensure that an "Arm's Length " relationship is maintained between VTA and its contractors in all procurement activities.

Request for Proposals (RFP) Process

The Request for Proposals (RFP) process is used to competitively procure professional and non-professional services and specific goods (as authorized by VTA's Board of Directors) through a best-value negotiation process.

Under $50,000
Procurement of services totaling less than $50,000 are generally solicited using an informal letter request for proposals or qualifications, are not advertised, and do not include oral interviews. Letter RFPs are sent to an adequate number of firms to ensure competitive response.

$50,000 - $100,000
Procurement of services valued between $50,000 and $100,000 are solicited using a formal request for proposals or qualifications, but does not require advertisement in a newspaper, and may not include oral interviews.

Over $100,000
Procurement of services totaling greater than $100,000 are solicited using a formal request for proposals or qualifications, require advertisement in an appropriate newspaper or trade journal, and require oral interviews.

RFP Procedure

The Request for Proposal (RFP) procurement differs substantially from the Invitation to Bid (IFB). Generally, the RFP is used in situations where other factors besides price are considerations. These procurements generally fall into the category of professional services where additional factors such as experience, understanding of the work required and the personnel proposed may be evaluated. In the case of an IFB, the lowest, responsive bid is accepted while with the RFP, we attempt to choose the best possible balance of factors and frequently the lowest cost proposal is not selected.

In a formal RFP, VTA usually will advertise in the Sunday and Monday San Jose Mercury News. In addition, we frequently place advertisements in smaller newspapers such as the San Jose Business Journal. If we anticipate national interest, we place an advertisement in Passenger Transport or perhaps a national periodical with a specific orientation. When possible, we also try to send notices to firms who have indicated interest in performing the particular type of professional services we are seeking.

Both advertisements and notices will briefly summarize the services sought and will indicate how an interested party may acquire the RFP booklet. Also indicated are the date for the pre-proposal conference, if any, and the due date for the proposals.

The RFP booklet should contain all the information needed to assemble a proposal. It includes a calendar for the procurement, a description of the scope of work, minimum qualifications for proposers, the criteria used to select the successful proposer and the manner in which the proposal should be organized. Also included are several basic forms which should be filled out and submitted with the proposal. VTA now includes a pro forma contract with the RFP booklet; prospective proposers should carefully read this document and note in their proposal any areas that they object to.

When the RFP booklet is requested, VTA puts information about the requestor in a computer file called the Prospective Bidders / Proposers List. In the event it is necessary to notify these individuals or companies about changes or clarifications in the procurement, we use this list. Therefore, it is imperative that any company contemplating the submission of a proposal be registered on the Prospective Bidders / Proposers List.

The pre-proposal conference is designed to allow the project manager to discuss the project and contract administration an opportunity to discuss the nuts and bolts of the procurement. Questions about both areas are encouraged and, if deemed significant, are mailed with the appropriate answers to all participants on the Prospective Bidders / Proposers List. If there is a DBE goal, it is important to attend the pre-proposal conference since this is a critical element of proving a good faith effort in the event the goal is not achieved.

Once the proposals are received, they are distributed to the members of the Review Board. VTA does not generally reveal who these individuals are prior to the interview date or selection date if there is no interview. After reading each of the proposals, the Review Board meets to grade them using the criteria described in the RFP. If there are interviews, the Review Board will select a short list of firms to interview. When no interviews are scheduled, the Review Board will select a winner on the basis of the written proposal.

If your firm is selected for an interview, you will be contacted by the appropriate contract administrator who will advise you of the time and location of the interview. Generally, VTA expects each proposer who has been invited to the interview to give the Review Board a brief presentation at the beginning of the interview discussing the proposer's history, experience and qualifications. The Review Board usually poses several general questions and may have specific ones designed for the specific proposer. After the interviews are concluded, the Review Board grades each interviewed proposer and a winner or winners are selected.

We encourage all of our RFP registrants to use our online registration system.

Invitation for Bids Process

An Invitation for Bid (IFB) process is generally used to solicit bids for construction projects.

Under $25,000
VTA may procure construction services through negotiation, but generally uses the IFB process unless time constraints make the IFB process unfeasible. VTA general procures services under $10,000 using a purchase order.

Greater than $25,000
VTA utilizes the IFB process for all construction projects greater than $25,000. Bids are advertised locally, and upon the scheduled deadline for receipt, bids are opened publicly and read.

Advertising for Bids

IFB Solicitations are published in the online CAMM system and the San Jose Mercury News. The San Jose Business JournalDaily Pacific Builder and La Oferta are also used occasionally.

Advertisements in the San Jose Mercury News appear in the Legal Notices section and are generally run on Sunday and Monday.

Contract Document Purchase and Review

Contract Documents, plans and drawings may be obtained at VTA's Contract Office, Building A, 3331 North First Street, San Jose, California.

It is important that firms planning to submit a bid obtain the IFB from VTA and register with VTA as a plan holder. Only registered plan holders are assured of receiving changes to IFB.

Bid documents can be reviewed, at no cost, at VTA's Contracts Office, as well as at the following additional locations:

Santa Clara Builder's Exchange
400 Reed Street, Santa Clara, CA, 95050
Tel: (408) 727-4000

FW Dodge Plan Room / Daily Pacific Builder
1774 Technology Drive, San Jose, CA, 95110
Tel: (408) 452-7667

Daily Construction Services
80 Swann Way, Suite 130, Oakland, CA, 94621
Tel: (510) 636-2480

Peninsula Builders Exchange
735 Industrial Way, San Carlos, CA, 94070
Tel: (650) 591-4486

Pre-Bid Conference

A Pre-Bid Conference is generally conducted prior to bid opening. The purpose of this meeting is to present the project, review contract requirements, inform prospective bidders and potential subcontractors of subcontracting and material supply opportunities, and to receive comments and questions regarding the work and the Contract Documents.

Addenda to Contract Documents

Any and all changes made to the IFB will be made by written Addendum, which will be issued to all registered plan holders. If changes might affect the bid price, the date set for the opening of bids may be postponed if necessary to enable sufficient time for bidders to revise their bids.

Bid Security

Bid security in the amount of 10% of the total contract price is required for all bids.

Bid Opening Procedure

Bids must be received by the time stated in the IFB. Whether late by seconds, minutes or hours, a bid which is not clocked in by the stated time will be returned unopened.

Sealed bids are publicly opened and read at the time and place stated in the IFB. Each bidder's name and the total amount of the bid are announced. Attendance at the bid opening is not required to be eligible for contract award. The apparent low bidder will be announced, however, a final determination of the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder will be sent to all bidders in the form of the Notice of Recommended Award.

VTA reserves the right to reject all bids if it is in its best interest.

Award Process

Award shall be to the lowest, responsible, responsive bidder. Upon award of a contract, the successful bidder will be required to:

  • Execute a Construction Agreement
  • Provide Performance Bond
  • Provide Payment Bond
  • Provide Certificates of Insurance

Failure to provide the above will result in forfeiture of Bidder's security.

Notice to Proceed

After receipt of the Construction Agreement, and approval of Bonds and Insurance Certificates, VTA will issue a Notice to Proceed.

Equal Opportunity Policy

VTA promotes equal opportunity in all forms: affirmative action in employment and contract participation by disadvantaged business enterprises.

Firms interested in receiving information on becoming a certified Disadvantaged Enterprise with VTA should contact:

Office of Small & Disadvantaged Businesses Attn: Andy Flores.
3331 N. First St., Bldg A, San Jose, Ca 95134, 
Tel: (408) 321-5962
Fax:(408) 955-9729

For information on firms that are currently approved as DBEs with VTA, visit

Policy Documents