The principle of full and open competition has one primary and two secondary purposes. The primary purpose is to obtain the best quality and service at minimum cost. In other words, to get the best buy. The secondary purposes are to guard against favoritism and profiteering at public expense and to provide equal opportunities to participate in public business to every potential offeror.

Departments must conduct all procurement in a manner providing full and open competition. This policy assures that all responsible bidders are permitted to compete for the procurement. In the case of sole or single source procurement, justification for use of the source must be documented. Also see Sole Source Contracting Section.

Contracts with a value of more than $100,000 shall be awarded by sealed bid or by the competitive and noncompetitive proposal process unless there is an explicit exception.2

Departments must refrain from the following practices, which are deemed restrictive of competition:

  1. Unreasonable requirements placed on firms in order for them to qualify to do business;
  2. Unnecessary experience and excessive bonding requirements;
  3. Noncompetitive pricing practices between firms or between affiliated companies;
  4. Noncompetitive awards to any person or firm on retainer contracts;
  5. Organizational conflicts of interest;
  6. Restrictive use of brand names;
  7. Any arbitrary action in the procurement process; and
  8. Geographic preferences.3
  1. FTA Circular 4220.1E §9, 49 CFR
  2.  Geographic preference is permitted in certain narrow situations, including principally where part of a legal licensing requirement and for architects and engineers; FTA Circular 4220.1E, §8.b.

Departments must keep meticulous procurement and contract files.