Protest Against IFB Cancellation

B-196856: Jul 8, 1980

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A firm protested the cancellation of an invitation for bids and requested that it be awarded bid preparation costs. The solicitation called for bids for the construction of trails and bridges in a National forest. It provided that the award would be made on one of four options depending on the funding available. The agency planned to fund the project by reprograming funds, but learned that these funds could not be reprogramed. Although the revised estimates indicated that even the least elaborate option would exceed the available funding, bids were opened. All exceeded the agency's available funding and the solicitation was canceled. The firm contended that it should have been awarded the contract since its reduced bid was a late modification and the Government's decision to cancel was arbitrary and capricious because there was no compelling reason for taking such action. Since both the firm's original and modified bid exceeded available funding, the proposed modification could not have been accepted, and the agency had sufficient reason to reject the bids. GAO found that, since the agency did not act arbitrarily by issuing the solicitation when its estimates exceeded available funds, the firm was not entitled to bid preparation costs. Accordingly, the protest and the claim were denied.

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