An Innovative Proposal is an unsolicited proposal that seeks to contribute unique, new and innovative ideas to Port Authority of Allegheny County (Port Authority). Port Authority will only consider Innovative Proposals that contribute new ideas within the area of parts, equipment, and professional services that are also deemed, in the Port Authority sole discretion, to enhance Port Authority’s delivery of public transit services to the region it serves. Innovative Proposals, as referenced in this policy, do not include unsolicited proposals submitted to Port Authority joint development/transit oriented development or other real estate projects, proposed advertising in or on Port Authority’s designated advertising space and/or the proposed installation of art on Port Authority property.


As a public entity, Port Authority is obligated to act as a good steward of public funds. State and Federal laws and regulations require that Port Authority seek full and open competition for all procurement opportunities including those initiated through the Innovative Proposal program. The Innovative Proposal program is intended to facilitate the proper timely receipt and evaluation of proposals while preserving the integrity of our procurement process and conforming to applicable laws.


Port Authority is committed in our efforts to expand contracting opportunities for all businesses, particularly small, minority and woman-owned and veteran owned businesses. Our DBE Program Office provides technical assistance, training, and other resources for vendors looking to do business with us. In our Innovative Proposal program, we encourage matchmaking, as well as encourage DBE/DB, SBE firms in forming partnerships/joint ventures with other small businesses to submit Innovative Proposals.


1.0 Proposal Submission

1.1 Pre-Proposal Questionnaire CLICK LINK HERE

Prior to submitting an Innovative Proposal, potential proposers must complete the questionnaire located on Port Authority’s Innovative Proposal website at The questionnaire will be evaluated by the Procurement Department to determine if an Innovative Proposal submission is warranted or would be further considered by Port Authority.

Proposal Requirements.  Where deemed appropriate by the Procurement Department following review of a pre-proposal questionnaire, an Innovative Proposal will be completed and submitted by the Proposer to Port Authority for consideration of a procurement opportunity that is not submitted in response to a current, recent, or anticipated request for bids or proposals. For an Innovative Proposal to be considered for further evaluation by Port Authority, it must:

    1. Describe a unique new part, equipment, or service;
    2. Be prepared independently, without supervision of or material input from Port Authority personnel;
    3. Not be a submission in response to a Port Authority solicitation or anticipated Port Authority solicitation;
    4. Be in writing and sufficiently detailed for Port Authority to determine the benefit conveyed upon Port Authority; and
    5. Include the following basic information:
        1. Concise title, detail of the proposed part(s), equipment and/or professional service(s), and the date of submission;
        2. Proposer's name, address, and business description;
        3. Name, phone number, and e-mail address for technical or business personnel to be contacted for further information if needed;
        4. Identification of any proprietary data that must be clearly marked as “confidential and proprietary”;
        5. Names of other parties who are participating in the Innovative Proposal, including partners, joint-venture partners, subcontractors, DBE/DB, SBE, and/or Veterans Owned Businesses;
        6. A reasonably complete narrative stating the purpose and objective(s) of the part(s), equipment and/or professional service(s), the extent of the effort to be employed, the nature and extent of the anticipated results, and how the proposal will support accomplishing Port Authority’s mission;
        7. Type of support needed from Port Authority, e.g., facilities, equipment, materials, or personnel resources;
        8. Proposed price or total estimated cost for the effort in sufficient detail for evaluation;
        9. Period for which the proposal is valid (a six-month minimum is suggested and any proposal submitted with less than three months of validity will be automatically rejected);
        10. Proposed duration of the provision of the part(s), equipment and/or professional service(s);
        11. Brief description of the organization, previous experience in the field, and facilities to be used.
        12. Statement, if applicable, concerning potential or actual organizational conflicts of interest, security clearances, and environmental impact.

2.0 Proposal Evaluation

          Once an Innovative Proposal is submitted for consideration, the Procurement Department is the initial point of contact responsible for coordinating the evaluation of a proposal. The Procurement Department will conduct an initial evaluation to determine if the proposal:

      1. Contains sufficient technical and cost information for evaluation;
      2. Is unique, new and innovative; and
      3. Describes potential benefits to Port Authority.

As part of the evaluation, the Procurement Department may confer with other Port Authority Divisions or Departments, as necessary, to determine whether the proposal merits further consideration.  All proposer communications concerning any proposals submitted under this Innovative Proposal Program Policy should be directed to the Procurement Department; proposers should not seek to directly contact or communicate with Port Authority Board Members, the Chief Executive Officer or other Port Authority management or staff concerning a proposal once the proposal has been submitted to Port Authority under this Policy.  

Port Authority is not required to perform a comprehensive evaluation of a submitted Innovative Proposal that is deemed to be either unrelated to Port Authority’s mission or requirements, does not offer a measurable net benefit to Port Authority, fails to provide sufficient information to support a comprehensive evaluation, or is otherwise not in the best interest of Port Authority, as deemed by Port Authority in its sole and exclusive discretion.

3.0 Outcomes

Evaluation of an Innovative Proposal by the Procurement Department may result in the following:

      1. A determination that the Innovative Proposal is of value and the Procurement Department shall either:
        1. Create an ebusiness bid Invitation for Bid (IFB), a Request for Proposal (RFP), or other open competition sourcing method that the Proposer will be invited to formally submit a bid or proposal in response to; or
        2. Attempt to negotiate a sole source contract, if applicable, but only if Port Authority, in its sole and exclusive discretion, deems a sole source contract legally permitted.
      2. A determination that the Innovative Proposal is not in the best interest of Port Authority for a variety of reasons, including but not necessarily limited to lack of funding, lack of fit for the agency, lack of a part(s), equipment and/or professional service(s) Port Authority is in need of.

      3. A finding that additional information or clarification is required from the Proposer before Port Authority can make a final determination.

The Procurement Department may move forward with full and open competition for competitive bids or proposals or commence negotiation to award a sole source contract, if applicable, only when the:

      1. Proposal has received a favorable evaluation;
      2. The Port Authority End User department would support, and they endorse the procurement.
      3. Respective administrative departments, including Finance, Equal Opportunity, and Legal endorse or approve the procurement.


      1. Submission of an Innovative Proposal does not guarantee award of a contract. There may be many process steps necessary once Port Authority determines that a proposal may be viable and of potential benefit to Port Authority.
      2. Port Authority is a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania government agency subject to Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. By submission an application and/or proposal under Port Authority’s Innovative Proposal Program Policy, proposers understand and acknowledge that information submitted may be subject to public disclosure, in whole or in part, by operation of law or order of court.
      3. This Innovative Proposal Program is administrative issued by Port Authority’s Procurement Department effective as of April 1, 2021.    Port Authority may modify, suspend or revoke the Innovative Proposal Program Policy at any time with or without notice in its sole and exclusive discretion. 

Please email Questionnaire form to Procurement Project Coordinator Melinda Smith at