The New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) Board of Directors approved “innovation stipends” to encourage more firms to participate in the bid process for portions of the Mass Transit Tunnel project.
The use of innovation stipends, which is an approach encouraged by the Federal Transit Administration, helps contractors cover a portion of their expenses preparing bid proposals for complex design/build projects, enabling firms to devote the staff and financial resources necessary to bid, resulting in greater competition in the procurement process.
Bids will be accepted for each of the three tunnel segments, with unsuccessful bidders receiving up to $375,000 for their submissions. The stipend allows NJ Transit to retain the rights to all submissions. The agency can also adapt or adopt design elements on other innovations contained within unsuccessful bids.
Expanding the field of competition through these stipends is expected to promote participation of small and disadvantaged business enterprises, particularly as subcontractors, according to NJ Transit.