Best Value Procurement: The New Kind Of RFP

With a new rail plan, the Seattle region's public transit agency invents a new way to make transit developers engage the community.
January 12, 2004, 12pm PST | David Gest
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Sound Transit, the Seattle region's public transit agency, had a problem. "In the early 1990s, Seattle politicians insisted on routing [a rail line] through the Rainier Valley as a way to spur economic development." Instead, the line would have displaced "a number of small, predominantly immigrant- and minority-owned businesses that were already springing up in the area." Protests ensued, prompting Sound Transit to try a "best value procurement" approach, asking "the five general contractors vying for the Rainier Valley work to submit bids that meet social goals as well as financial ones. Consequently, the contractors have spent many months and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to show that they can 'be a good neighbor' and 'promote community confidence'...Other criteria, namely community-outreach and workforce-diversity programs, seem designed to create goodwill in the Rainier Valley." One company even "sought out every community business it could possibly involve in the project, from auto body garages that could change tires to noodle shops that could supply workers with lunch."

Thanks to David Gest

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Published on Wednesday, January 7, 2004 in Seattle Weekly
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