Competitive Bidding Requirements Under the Federal-Aid Highway Program

Headnotes: 

The competitive bidding requirement of 23 U.S.C. § 112 imposes, in addition to procedural rules dictating the process by which bids are awarded, a substantive limitation on state or local bidding requirements that are unrelated to the bidder’s performance of the necessary work.

Section 112’s competitive bidding requirement does not preclude any and all state or local bidding or contractual restrictions that have the effect of reducing the pool of potential bidders for reasons unrelated to the performance of the necessary work. Rather, section 112 affords the Federal Highway Administration discretion to assess whether a particular state or local requirement unduly limits competition.

Generally, state or local government requirements that eliminate or disadvantage a class of potential responsible bidders to advance objectives unrelated to the efficient use of federal funds or the integrity of the bidding process are likely to unduly impede competition in contravention of the substantive component of section 112’s competitive bidding requirement.

Updated July 9, 2014