This paper discusses public policy concerning qualification of bidders on public highway construction contracts, the state laws and regulations relating to licensing of public works contractors and state practice regarding prequalification and post qualification of bidders on highway construction contracts. The prevention of contractor default, the improvement of competitive bidding, and the improvement of the quality of construction are discussed, as well as limits on state police power applied to contractor qualification, and the scope of the licensing requirements. The special status of Federal-Aid Highway projects is also considered. The approaches discussed here-licensing, pre-bid qualification, pre-award qualification-represent well-tested techniques of regulation, and pre-bid qualification enjoys nation-wide adoption. In evolving the current pattern of state laws and regualtions on licensing and qualification, legislative draftsmen must give effect to 2 policies which generally characterize public contract law. One is the policy that public works contracts shall be awarded through competitive bidding procedurs which stimulate as many contractors as possible to bid on a given project. The second is that in competitive bidding the contract is to be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. State contractor licensing laws in 19 states appear to be able to carry out in initial screening of persons entering the practice of contracting. Licensing laws do not protect the public against the costs of speculative busines risks, inexperience etc. Preventive protection against these risks is provided by other procedures. State statutes, rules etc. show a substantial variety in the method of rating the capacity of contractors and delimiting their eligibility to bid on contracts in accordance with this rating. Court decisions give little help in this area, and the ability of states to exercise continuing influence on contractors activities through authority to suspend and revoke certification is difficult to evalute.

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  • Accession Number: 00178346
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Sep 14 1978 12:00AM