The Obama administration intends to keep contractors on stand-by to help officials evaluate conditions on the Mexican side of the U.S. border, but U.S. companies are not allowed to apply for the work.

Tracking remittances – funds sent over a distance – from the U.S. to Mexico is one of several possible research and consulting services that Obama through the U.S. Agency for International Development may solicit.

Such a task will not support, for example, tax- or drug-enforcement operations. Instead, it would help determine the extent to which the funds subsequently are “invested into social or community development projects” in Mexico, according to a Request for Quotations that WND discovered via routine database research.

Only Mexican organizations – or, at the very least, groups based in Mexico that are majority owned or managed by Mexican citizens – may submit responses to the solicitation, the Scope of Work emphasizes.

USAID/Mexico needs a “local quick-response mechanism” to support projects not already covered under other agency activities, the document says.

Rather than awarding contracts, USAID intends to issue “blanket purchase agreements,” or BPAs, to complement U.S. Mission endeavors in unrelated major programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; boost economic competitiveness; mitigate the impact of crime on communities; and support the government of Mexico’s implementation of constitutional criminal-justice reform.

In addition to remittance tracking, other issues potentially requiring “analyses, assessments, and special studies” include:

  • Outlook for local – meaning Mexican – economic opportunities along the northern border;
  • Impact of U.S. economic trends on the economy in northern Mexico;
  • Internal migration trends in Mexico and their impact on crime prevalence;
  • Economic growth forecasts in the northern Mexican states in the context of a U.S. economic rebound;
  • Tracking violence against journalists and human rights advocates and assessing existing measures designed to protect them.

Case studies on youth and unemployment, school desertion rates and victim assistance services are among other possible topical areas for which Mexican vendors may be eligible for BPAs.

The project examples are for “illustrative purposes” only, the USAID document says, and BPAs may or may not be granted for such activities.

Though USAID did not disclose an estimated cost of the five-year endeavor, the agency said individual BPAs will not exceed $150,000. The deadline for contractor proposals is Sept. 9.

In other U.S.-Mexico assistance business, the State of Puebla Secretariat of Transportation will leverage a $455,000 grant from the U.S. Trade & Development Agency to conduct a feasibility study of a proposed “intelligent transportation system” project.

USTDA agreed to give the grant to Puebla authorities – who must hire a U.S. contractor – because “Puebla’s demand for public transportation is expected to increase at an even higher rate than its population growth,” the agency said in a solicitation.

The development of bus rapid-transit systems along six of the state’s key corridors “is expected to provide significant benefits to Puebla’s population in terms of improved convenience and safety, shorter travel times, and reduced environmental impacts.”

USTDA earlier this summer separately began evaluating contractor proposals to conduct a “definitional mission,” or DM, on behalf of the Mexican Association of Railroads.

The $50,000 DM will help the agency to decide whether to help fund a variety of other projects that could “support the development of Mexico’s freight rail system, which is a critical component of Mexico’s economy and trade.”

Potential projects include assessments of railroad infrastructure “to accommodate the transportation of various oil and gas products” as well as “environmental technologies for the development of green railroad infrastructure, including green locomotives.”

The Narcotics Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is soliciting the services of an individual vendor to help oversee counter-narcotics and anti-trafficking contracts.

The deputy contracting officer’s representative will supervise a team of government procurement specialists. The team monitors the performance of contractors hired by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

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