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Construction Program Guide
The use of the Internet in our daily lives is increasing at a rapid pace. President Bush has made the expansion of Electronic Government a key Government-wide Initiative in the 2002 document "The President's Management Agenda." State Transportation Agencies (STAs) are increasing their use of the Internet in their procurement and contracting processes. Generally, the STAs' Internet methods of procurement and contracting have been found to be in compliance with FHWA regulations. In the future, the FHWA intends to perform a comprehensive update to 23 CFR Part 635 to provide for changes in law and policy. We expect to expressly provide for Internet bidding as part of this future update.
Notes Regarding Electronic Contracting
The use of electronic documents and processes in the bidding and letting of projects has increased markedly since July 1999, when the Georgia DOT first used Internet bidding. As of May 24, 2006, there are at least 33 State Transportation Agencies (STAs) that allow contractors to submit electronic bids; with at least 27 of these that receive bids over the Internet, and at least 9 of these that accept only Internet bids.
The FHWA supports the use of electronic procedures to advertise, open bids, and award projects as long as the process assures opportunity for free, open, and competitive bidding, including adequate publicity of the advertisements or calls for bids, as required by 23 CFR 634.104(a).
Where allowed by State policy, Internet-based advertising may be used in lieu of traditional means if the STA can successfully demonstrate to the FHWA Division Administrator that using such means would generate "adequate publicity". In demonstrating whether this means would generate "adequate publicity," the STA should show that it has worked with appropriate representatives from the contracting industry.
FHWA's policy allow bids to be announced by means other than reading them aloud, such as by posting them on the Internet.
Under the US Department of Labor's policies in 29 CFR 5.5, electronic submittals and electronic signatures are considered acceptable for the contractor's weekly payroll and "statement of compliance."
As FHWA cautions STAs from making information available that could aid collusion, FHWA discourages the publication of plan-holder lists.
The Wisconsin DOT has implemented an Internet-based Civil Rights Compliance System for payment tracking and labor compliance management. It was first used on the Marquette Interchange project and will eventually be used on all WisDOT projects. The following document provides a system overview: http://roadwaystandards.dot.wi.gov/hcci/labor-wages-eeo/crc-basic-info.pdf