Chapter 5: Contracting

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Section 1: Introduction

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Authority for Contracting

The Education Code, sections 67.24 and 85.29, Research and Experimentation for the Texas Department of Transportation, allows TxDOT to contract with The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas A&M University System to conduct research relating to transportation.�

The Education Code, Chapter 150, Transportation Research, allows TxDOT to contract with any Texas public senior college or university to conduct research relating to transportation.

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Types of Contracts and Programs

Cooperative Research and Implementation Agreement (CRIA) — A CRIA contains a set of standard provisions either required by state or federal law, or agreed to during negotiations between TxDOT and universities. Each university wishing to perform a TxDOT research and implementation project must first execute a CRIA with TxDOT.

The standard provisions in each university’s CRIA are incorporated by reference into each Project Agreement executed under that CRIA.

Project Agreements (PAs) — Each research or implementation project conducted by a university is represented by a Project Agreement executed between the Research and Technology Implementation Office (RTI) and a Texas state-supported university. Each Project Agreement includes, but is not limited to:

  • an itemized project budget, by fiscal year, for each institution involved,
  • the termination date of the project,
  • a detailed work plan,
  • a deliverables table,
  • a schedule of activities, and
  • whether the project is part of an annual program, or an independent project.

Annual Programs — provides for both an Annual Program of Research and an Annual Program of Implementation between each university and TxDOT.

Each annual program is composed of one or more projects with similar sources of funding. Combining these projects under a single program gives the university some flexibility for sharing funds between projects. This flexibility precludes the need for a university to obtain RTI’s approval for minor budget changes on individual projects.

The sum of the contracted budget amounts for all the projects in a university’s annual program sets that program’s total funding. Although billings may exceed the contracted budget amounts on individual projects, as described in Article 9A of the CRIA, total billings for all projects in a university’s annual program may not exceed that program’s total funding.

Independent Projects — Article 9B of the CRIA provides for research and implementation projects which are independent of an annual program. These projects are funded from sources different from the funding sources for an annual program, or from multiple funding sources. Consequently, these projects cannot share funding with other projects and must be contracted independently.

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Contract Communications Management

RTI develops a Communications Management Plan for each research and implementation project. Each plan lists the stakeholders, the procurement milestones, and the expected formal communications relevant to each project.

Each plan also specifies the point(s) of contact during certain phases of the solicitation and performance periods of each project. Key roles outlined in each plan include:

  • Contract Specialist – point of contact for:
    • receiving all external communications during the solicitation (RFP) period, responsible for recording and retaining all external communications during this period and for providing complete and consistent information to all researchers who expressed an interest in submitting a proposal on the project,
    • ordinary business communications while the project is on-going, and
    • formal contract notices while the project is on-going,
  • Project Manager – after contract award, manages the day-to-day project activities, communicating with researchers as needed�
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It is TxDOT’s policy that no person shall on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, genetic information, or disability be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any of our programs, including the research program. This policy is reflected in all executed CRIAs, most predominantly in Article 24.

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