City rejects protests over winning bidder for rail project

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city has rejected two bid protests over the awarding of a contract to build rail cars and a service center for the rail transit project.

The Department of Budget and Fiscal Services said Friday that it found "no procedural or legal violations in any aspect of the procurement" for the contract.

"The protests were thoroughly reviewed, each point was considered, and on all counts the finding was that procurement law and procedures were followed through the evaluation and selection process," said department Deputy Director Nelson Koyanagi.

The city awarded Ansaldo Honolulu a $574 million contract in March for train cars and a system control center. The company will also operate and maintain the rail system.

One of the losing bidders, Sumitomo Corporation of America, claimed that Ansaldo's pricing for the contract was actually higher than Sumitomo's because Ansaldo shifted many design and building costs to operating and maintenance costs. The city dismissed the allegation as false, saying that the pricing evaluation was "based on the entire proposal, not individual segments."

Another losing company, Bombardier Transportations (Holdings) USA Inc., contended that the contract selection process was flawed. The city countered that the claim was "unfounded."

The two companies have until next Friday to appeal the city's ruling to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. A DCCA hearings officer would have to issue a decision within 45 days of an appeal.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.