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Procurement Protest Procedures



Protests will be accepted from prospective bidders or offerors whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of a contract or by failure to award a contract.
The CATA Purchasing Manager will consider all protests or objections filed in a timely manner regarding the award of a contract, whether submitted before or after award. If the protest is oral and the matter cannot be otherwise resolved, written confirmation of the protest will be requested. Protest submissions should be concise, logically arranged, and clearly state the grounds for the protest. Protests must include at least the following information:

  • Name, address, and telephone number of protester.
  • Identification of the solicitation or Contract number.
  • A detailed statement of the legal and factual grounds of protest, including copies of relevant documents.
  • A statement as to what relief is requested.

Protests must be filed with CATA in accordance with its procedures and time requirements. The protest to CATA must be complete and contain all the issues that the protester believes relevant. Failure to include an issue in the protest to CATA will preclude raising the issue to FTA, if the protest is appealed to that agency. Following an adverse decision by CATA, the protester may file a protest with FTA under certain limited circumstances listed in paragraph below, if the Contract is being funded by an FTA grant.


Bid protests regarding restrictive specifications or alleged improprieties in the solicitation must be submitted in writing three (3) business days prior to bid opening or closing date for receipt of proposals. If the written protest is not received by the time specified, award may be made in the normal manner unless the Purchasing Manager, upon investigation, finds that remedial action is required, in which event such action should be taken. Oral protests not followed up by a written protest will be disregarded.

Notice of a protest and the basis therefore will be given to all bidders or offerors who have a reasonable prospect of receiving an award. In addition, when a protest against the making of an award is received and the Purchasing Manager determines to withhold the award pending disposition of the protest, the bidders or proposers whose bids or proposals might become eligible for award should be requested, before expiration of the time for acceptance of their bids or proposals, to extend the time for acceptance (with consent of sureties, if any) to avoid the need for re-advertising. CATA will provide a written response to each material issue raised in the written protest.

Where a written protest against the making of an award is received in the time specified, award will not be made prior to five (5) business days after resolution of the protest or, if a protest has been filed with FTA while the protest is still pending, unless CATA determines that:

  1. The items to be procured are urgently required;
  2. Delivery or performance will be unduly delayed by failure to make award promptly; or
  3. Failure to make award will otherwise cause undue harm to CATA or the Federal Government.

If award is made, the Purchasing Manager will document the file to explain the need for an award, and will give written notice of the decision to proceed with the award to the protester and, as appropriate, to others concerned.


A protest after award must be made in writing and received by the Purchasing Manager within three (3) business days after the posting of the Notice of Award is made to participating bidders. Protests will only be considered for reasons other than restrictive specifications or alleged improprieties in the solicitation.


Appeals and requests for reconsideration must be sent to the CEO within five (5) business days after issuance of a final decision by the Purchasing Manager. The CEO will issue his decision within ten (10) business days after receipt.


Under certain limited circumstances, an interested party may protest to FTA the award of a Contract pursuant to an FTA grant. FTA's review of any protest will be limited to:

  • A CATA failure to have or follow its protest procedures, or its failure to review a complaint or protest; or
  • Violations of Federal law or regulation.

Time for Filing

  1. Protesters shall file a protest with FTA not later than five (5) business days after a final decision is rendered under CATA's protest procedure. In instances where the protester alleges that CATA failed to make a final determination on the protest, the protesters shall file a protest with FTA not later than five (5) business days after the protester knew or should have known of CATA's failure to render a final determination on the protest.
  2. CATA shall not award a contract for five (5) business days following its decision on a bid protest except in accordance with the provisions and limitations. After five (5) business days, CATA shall confirm with FTA that FTA has not received a protest on the Contract in question.

Submission of Protest to FTA
A protestor must exhaust all administrative remedies with CATA by following the protest procedures to completion, before appealing to FTA.

  1. Protests to FTA should be filed in accordance with FTA Circular 4220.1F (as periodically updated) with the FTA Regional Office. A concurrent copy of the protest must be sent to CATA.
  2. The protest filed with FTA shall:
  • Include the name and address of the protestor.
  • Identify the CATA project number and the number of the Contract solicitation.
  • Contain a statement of the ground for the protest and any supporting documentation. This should detail the alleged failure to follow protest procedures or the alleged failure to have procedures and be fully supported to the extent possible.
  • Include a copy of the local protest filed with CATA and a copy of CATA's decision, if any.

CATA informing Protest to FTA
CATA will notify FTA when it receives a protest, keep FTA informed about the status of protest, and if the bid protest has been denied. The following information will be provided to FTA for protest:

  • The contract value exceeding $100,000
  • Involve a controversial matter
  • Involve a highly publicized matter

Updated 072418