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Bidding on Government Contracts for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Bidding on Government Contracts for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was created through an interstate compact authorized by the United States Congress in 1921. Its founding mission - to facilitate transit through the region by providing reliable transportation infrastructure for commuters, visitors, and cargo carriers - is more important today than ever before. The Port Authority must ensure that their facilities are in good condition to meet the transportation needs of the people and businesses of the tri-state area.

Since being founded more than 95 years ago, the Port Authority has grown to a size that its founders could never have imagined. Along with this continued growth comes a plethora of bid opportunities for third-party vendors, which cover a wide range of products and services.

An Overview of the Port Authority

The importance of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey cannot be overstated. The Authority’s network of properties and infrastructure is crucial to the economy of the NYC/NJ region.  The Port Authority is responsible for overseeing five of the region’s airports, including JFK, LaGuardia and Newark, as well as the New York/New Jersey seaport.  The PA also manages the PATH rail transit system, six tunnels and bridges (including the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge) and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. As well, the PA oversees the World Trade Center site, which became the agency’s new home in 2015. Each one of these properties and services play a critical role in ensuring that trade and transportation in the area runs smoothly. [i]

The Port Authority does not receive any tax revenue from the states of New York or New Jersey, or from the City of New York. In fact, the agency generates $80 billion in revenue annually from multiple sources, including tolls, fees and rent on the large properties it owns, such as the 16-arce World Trade Center site.  Every year, the Port Authority pays out over $23 billion in wages, supporting more than 550,000 regional jobs. [ii]

Procurement with the Port Authority

The goal of the Port Authority’s procurement department is to support the economic growth of the New York and New Jersey region.  The department regularly issues a variety of bid opportunities, including solicitations for general goods and services, construction projects, and technical and advisory services. The competitive bidding process is designed to help businesses of all sizes succeed in government contracting, thanks to an environment that is open, honest and transparent.

When the Port Authority procures for goods, services and construction materials, they are seeking the best value for their investment.  Usually, this means obtaining the highest-quality goods and services at the lowest possible cost within the required timeframe.  Whenever practical, Port Authority procurement requests are fulfilled through a competitive public bidding process, with contracts being awarded to the qualified responsive/responsible bidders that offer the best prices. 

Often, the Port Authority will handle more complex procurements through the use of Request for Proposals (RFP).  In such cases, each RFP document will outline the scope of the work that is being sought by the PA, as well as the contractual terms and selection criteria for vendors. Interested vendors can then submit a proposal in response to an RFP, which will then be rated by an evaluation committee based on a variety of weighted factors that may include the vendor’s qualifications and experience, technical and management approach, and cost. 

Small, Minority and Women Owned Businesses

Consistent with the PA’s long-standing commitment to maximizing business opportunities for small, minority and woman-owned business enterprises, the agency conducts its own certification process for each of these entities. The agency may set aside various procurement opportunities or establish good-faith goals for participation by certified small businesses and MWBE contractors.  Price preferences for certified entities may also be available for certain bids. Certification is performed by the Port Authority’s Office of Diversity and Civil Rights.

(Source: The Port Authority of NY &NJ. A Guide to Procurement at the Port Authority of NY &NJ. 24 Oct. 2016)

Submitting Bids

Sealed bids and proposals must be received by the PA Procurement Department on or before the opening date and time specified in the bid documents. Vendor bids are time-and date-stamped upon receipt and locked in the Bid Depository to remain sealed until the opening, which is handled by a Bid Custodian. Proposals must be received Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding Port Authority holidays, via (1) regular mail; (2) express delivery service: or (3) hand delivery.

Specific instructions for bidding on a particular Port Authority contract will be found in the bid package of that contract.  This information is vital to submitting a bid and will include the date, time and place of the bid opening, as well as how to submit inquiries.  Any changes to this information will be included in addenda issued via email and/or mail and published on the Port Authority web site.   

The public is invited to attend public bid openings, which begin promptly at the specified time.  Because the bid opening is conducted at the World Trade Center Site, which has extensive security, attendees must present a valid, government-issued photo ID to enter. Those who are entering the building carrying envelopes, packages or boxes may be subject to additional security screening.

Responses to RFPs must be submitted in accordance with the RFP documents. Proposals must be clearly marked with the vendor’s name, address, title and number of the RFP, and due date.

Informal bids, which are bids that are not advertised or publicly opened, may also be solicited by the Port Authority via mail, email, fax or telephone, depending on the nature of the requirement and the estimated cost.

 (Source: The Port Authority of NY & NJ. A Guide to Procurement for the Port Authority of NY & NJ. 24 Oct. 2016)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey keeps a public-facing, six-month rolling list of awards providing information about the various bids that have been awarded during this time period. The list is broken down into the following categories: Commodities and Services, Construction, Professional Technical and Advisory, World Trade Center Site, and Surplus Sales. Each category includes the contract reference number and a description of the award; the winning bidder’s name and address; start and end date of the contract; and the estimated award amount.

In the construction category, recent award amounts range from just over $300,000 to $68,000,000. The largest award for construction came in at just under $2,000,000,000 for work on LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. The Commodities and Services section features equally lucrative awards for a variety of services: Awards were granted in the range of $40,000 to $50,000,000 for goods and services including In-House Drug Testing Services, Snow Melting Mats, Honor Guard Uniforms, Aerial Photography, and Cleaning and Waste Removal, among others. [iii]

Although the Port Authority’s headquarters have changed (to 4 World Trade Center in New York City), their goals have not. The PA of New York and New Jersey continues to ensure that travel and transportation to and from one of the world’s largest business, tourist and shipping hubs keeps happening smoothly. Much like the City of New York - with its vast pool of projects and services opportunities available to bid on - the Port Authority never sleeps. 

Kevin McClintock |

[i] n.p. Overview of Facilities and Services. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. 2017. Web 21 Mar. 2017

[ii] n.p. “2016 Port Authority Construction Program: Bidding and Understanding Construction Contracts.” The Port Authority of NY & NJ. 2016. Web 21 Mar. 2017

[iii] n.p. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Business Opportunities. Awards. 2017. Web. 21 Mar. 2017

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