Procurement Process

Material, Part, & Service Vendor

  • By Commodity


  • Concrete Paving Contractors
  • Electrical Contractors
  • Excavating & Underground Contractors
  • General Contractors
  • Glazing Contractors
  • Heating/Ventilating/Air-Conditioning Contractors
  • Painting Contractors
  • Plumbing Contractors
  • Roofing Contractors
  • Sewer Contractors
  • Steel Erection Contractors
  • Track Construction Contractors
  • Tuckpointing and Masonry Contractors
  • Demolition Contractors


Architectural and Engineering firms should verify that they are listed in the appropriate service categories:

  • Architects
  • Civil Engineers
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Geotechnical Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Structural Engineers

Vendor Responsibility Record

CTA encourages its vendors to maintain a responsible performance record by adhering to all contract terms and specifications. This includes providing specified materials or services and making on-time deliveries.

If your past performance on CTA contracts is unsatisfactory, you may be suspended from a vendor's list and denied the right to bid on CTA purchase orders or contracts, per the CTA's debarment and suspension regulations.


Types of Purchases and Sale Transactions:

CTA purchases rail cars and buses, parts for rail cars, buses, and service vehicles, office supplies, and a wide variety of materials and services for the maintenance, repair and operation of the CTA.

According to the Municipal Transit Act of Illinois, and the CTA's Regulations Governing Purchase and Sales Transactions, CTA is required to accept competitive bids for any purchase order or contract exceeding $40,000 for personal property, materials or supplies, labor, services or work; or the sale of scrap, surplus material, and obsolete equipment.

Exceptions to this requirement include purchase orders and contracts for sole source items; services for professional, technical or artistic skill; emergency or public exigency purchases; and goods or services procured through competitive negotiations.

Purchases or sales of less than $40,000 must be let by competitive bidding, whenever possible, after solicitation of bids by email, telephone or other means.

The two types of purchase and sales transactions covered in this brochure are as follows:

Transactions Requiring Competitive Bids

Request For Quotations

When materials or supplies costing less than $40,000 are required, the Purchasing Department issues a Request For Quotations to CTA approved vendors. An RFQ includes a complete description of the item and quantity requested.

  • No Bid: If you are unable to bid on all or part of a quotation, please write "no bid," where applicable, and return the entire package to CTA on or before the close date. A "no bid" response indicates that you are interested in remaining on our active bidders list.
  • Bid Submittal: Vendors may respond to the quotation by typing or legibly printing in ink their quantity, unit of measure, price and delivery terms. An authorized company agent also must sign and date the bid. The complete quotation, including all CTA terms and conditions, must be returned by email to the buyer indicated on the quotation.
  • Purchase Order Award: Purchase orders are awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. A quotation is responsive when it meets the requirements of the RFQ. Responsibility includes, but is not limited to, financial stability, previous performance, experience, adequacy of equipment, special or unique skills, and ability to complete performance within a specified time limit.

Invitation For Bids

The Purchasing Department publishes an Invitation For Bids in an English language daily newspaper of general circulation (currently the Chicago Tribune). Bid documents are posted on the CTA Bonfire portal.

In addition, public notice may include periodic handouts listing proposed contracts or announcements of proposed contracts in trade journals, minority and female publications, Spanish or other foreign language publications, magazines and other mass communications media. 

Interested vendors should visit the CTA Bonfire portal to learn more about a bid.

  • Completing The Bid Package: Only those bids that are completed correctly and submitted on time will be evaluated for contract award. Bids must be signed in the designated areas in each of the following sections: Proposal Page; DBE Schedules B, C, D; Lobbying; Affidavit of Prompt Payment; Affidavit of Minimum Wage Payment; Debarment; Buy America Requirements; and Execution Pages, including Partnership, Sole Proprietorship, Disclosure of Ownership, and Acceptance. Bidders must also meet the requirements listed in the Special Conditions which may call for additional information to be submitted along with the bid package.

    Some commonly made mistakes to avoid when completing the bid package include:

    • Authorized party does not sign bid on execution page.
    • Bidder does not sign compliance or non-compliance with Buy America requirements.
    • Bidder does not meet DBE requirements, and does not request a waiver.
    • Bidder does not submit a bid bond when required.
    • Bidder will not bid on options when required.
    • Bidder does not submit price list or book when required.
    • Bidder does not list names of subcontractors when required.
    • Bidder does not acknowledge in bid submittals receipt of addenda issued to the bid package that affect price, quantity, quality, delivery schedules, or liability.
    • Bidder does not submit the bid package, in its entirety, to the CTA Bonfire portal within the required time frame.
  • No Bid: If you are unable to bid on all or part of a specification, please indicate "no bid," where applicable, and submit the entire package to the CTA Bonfire portal on or before the bid opening date. A "no bid" response indicates that you are interested in remaining on our active bidders list.
  • Bid Deposits: When specified in an advertisement, bids must be submitted with a deposit, i.e. cashier's check, certified check, money order or bid bond. If you submit a bid bond, you must reference the specified CTA contract number and have at least an Alfred M. Best Company "B+" policyholder's rating and "X" or better financial rating.

    After the bid opening, you may substitute a bid bond for a bid deposit.

  • Bid Submittal: The complete bid, including specification and addenda, must be uploaded to the CTA Bonfire portal, before 2:00 p.m. on the bid opening date. Bonfire will not allow bids to be received after designated time.

    You are invited to attend the public bid opening at 2:00 p.m. by registering on the Zoom link provided on the procurement documents in Bonfire.

  • Contract Evaluation and Award: Contracts are awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. Factors considered in determining responsiveness and responsibility include:
    • Responsiveness - A bid is responsive when it complies in all material aspects with the IFB. This applies both to the method and timeliness of submission and the substance of any resulting contract. Exceptions to the bid document could result in a potentially non-responsive situation. CTA is unable to accept any non-responsive bids.
    • Responsibility - Responsibility includes, but is not limited to, financial stability, previous performance, experience, adequacy of equipment, special or unique skills, and ability to complete performance within a specified time limit.

Sales Proposals - Scrap, Surplus Material, Obsolete Equipment:

CTA's Purchasing Department solicits bidders for scrap, surplus material and obsolete equipment. Your company may be added to the bidder's list by registering online,

  • No Bid: If you are unable to quote on all or part of a quotation, please write "no bid", where applicable, and return it to the address noted on the Sales Proposal on or before the due date. A "no bid" response for the entire bid indicates that you are interested in receiving subsequent sales proposals.
  • Bid Submittal: Before submitting a bid, you are urged to arrange for an inspection of the material at the time and location noted on the Sales Proposal. All CTA scrap material is sold in an "as is, where is" condition, without warranty or guarantee. Vendors may respond to a sales proposal by typing the quotation or legibly printing it in ink. If required, the proper bid deposit must be included.

    The proposal also must be signed and dated by an authorized company agent and returned before the bid due date to the address noted on the proposal. Bids received after the designated due date will not be considered.

    You are invited to attend the public bid opening for sales proposals exceeding $40,000. You are invited to attend the public bid opening at 2:00 p.m. by registering on the Zoom link provided on the sales documents in CTA Bonfire portal.

  • Contract Award: Scrap, surplus material and obsolete equipment are sold to the highest responsive and responsible bidder. A bid is responsive when it meets the requirements of the Sales Proposal. Responsibility includes, but is not limited to, financial stability, previous performance, experience, adequacy of equipment, special or unique skills, and ability to complete performance within a specified time limit.

Other Procurement Opportunities

Request For Proposals

The Purchasing Department posts a notice on the CTA Bonfire portal detailing RFP due date and response procedures. Other consultants or firms learn of CTA's need for service for a specific project through CTA newspaper advertisements, CTA Bonfire portal, or contact with CTA purchasing personnel.

  • Regrets: If you are unable to respond to an RFP, please notify CTA of your regrets on or before the advertised date. This will confirm your interest in remaining on our active vendor list.
  • Proposal Submittal: The complete proposal must be uploaded to the CTA Bonfire platform, before 3:30 p.m. on the advertised due date. Bonfire will not allow proposals to upload after that time.
  • Contract Award: Evaluation of a professional service contract is based on the offer most beneficial to CTA. CTA is not obligated to accept the lowest bid received when evaluating professional service proposals. An evaluation is usually based on a written response and an oral presentation by the finalist(s), if required by the CTA. Selection criteria include, but are not limited to, qualifications, cost, and project plan. CTA reserves the right to negotiate price proposals with prospective consultants.

Architectural and Engineering Services

The selection of licensed architects, engineers, and surveyors for award of contracts is made through a qualification-based method of competitive negotiations. Solicitations of "Letters of Interest and Qualifications" are posted on the CTA's website and are published in the Chicago Sun-Times and state a brief scope of work and the filing deadline for responses.

Interested consultants should obtain a solicitation letter from CTA's Purchasing Department to learn more about the project being offered. Responses to CTA's solicitation must be received by the filing deadline and should address the items for consideration as fully as possible.

CTA evaluates every response based on the items for consideration and selects the most qualified firm with which to conduct negotiations. A successful negotiation brings CTA a fair and reasonable price for the consultant's work on the project and is formalized in a contract with that consultant.

  • Evaluation of Submittal - Architectural & Engineering Services:

    CTA will evaluate consultants' responses to its solicitation based on a number of different criteria. Items for consideration may include, but are not limited to any of the following:

    • ability to meet CTA's schedule
    • approach to project, including schedule
    • architect or engineer in charge of design
    • commitment to project relative to firm's other ongoing projects
    • credentials, experience, and tenure of personnel offered for project
    • key personnel committed to project
    • performance history associated with distinctive and efficient design solutions
    • primary consultant's responsibility for project supervision
    • promptness of start-up
    • qualifications of firm
    • references for projects involving similar types of work
    • staff availability during the life of the project
    • transit design experience
  • Construction Services:

    Construction services are secured through competitive bidding. Plans, specifications and bidding documents can be obtained from the Purchasing Department. Construction bids are publicly opened and read aloud on the established bid opening date. Bidders are required to provide a bid deposit in the amount stipulated in the solicitation. The most frequent problems encountered with construction bids are:

    • failure to properly execute the bid
    • failure to provide an acceptable form of bid deposit
    • failure to acknowledge an addendum to the bidding documents
    • incomplete or blank DBE participation statements
    • unsigned "Buy America" certification
    • failure to provide the insurance stipulated by the contract
  • Evaluation of Submittal - Construction Services: Contracts for construction services are awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. A responsive bid fully addresses CTA's bid requirements described in the invitation for bids and the bid documents. CTA's evaluation of responsibility includes an investigation of a firm's ability to complete the project if it is awarded the contract. CTA considers the firm's staffing, work program, and financial resources in establishing its responsibility.


Emergency Contracts

As stated in the CTA Procurement Policy & Procedures, the Chairman of the CTA Board may authorize the negotiation and award of an emergency contract to purchase supplies, materials, equipment or services. Although competitive bidding in such situations is strongly encouraged, it is not required.

During declared emergencies or public exigencies, CTA will request quotations for the necessary supplies or services from known, reliable sources. If you are interested in being considered for an emergency contract, you must maintain a current application, as well as an exemplary track record on your deliveries and contract performance.