Councilman seeks do over on rail contract

Tom Berg
Tom Berg
Ikaika Anderson
Ikaika Anderson
Toru Hamayasu
Toru Hamayasu

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - To use a football analogy Councilman Tom Berg wants a replay on rail.

"If the referee made a bad call on the field it's our job to review this. It's our job to oversee that maybe they got the call wrong," said Tom Berg, Honolulu City Councilmember.

He says Bombardier Transportation got robbed in their attempt to win the core systems contract to build the rail transit cars and control center.  Their bid is $234 million less and they would have built the rail cars in Hawaii which would create 150 local jobs.

They've built rail cars all over the world, but they were disqualified for being non-responsive.  When asked why the city's Deputy Corporation Counsel Amy Kondo said they can't talk about it even though it's all part of the public process.

"Unacceptable, inexcusable and a direct affront to our taxpayers," said Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilmember. "However I think the discussion has to be had as to why one bidder was disqualified and whether that bidder was given ample opportunity to resubmit their bid," said Anderson.

"It feeds into the animosity of this entire project that things are not truly transparent," said Berg.

"I don't think you can use today's corporation counsel advising us not to talk about the potential lawsuit as lack of transparency it's just the sensible thing to do," said Toru Hamayasu, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Interim Executive Director.

The city is playing defense.  It's not talking because Bombardier still has time to appeal and take it back to court. They don't want what they say to council to be used against them in the appeals process.

Meanwhile the council punted on Berg's proposed replay resolution until next month when Bombardier executives can line up to testify in person.

As to whether they'll get a do over that appears to be a Hail Mary.

"We are against it primarily because the procurement ought to be independent of these forces from outside," said Hamayasu.

"In the arena of the taxpayer we need to make sure that what we're being told is actually the outcome," said Berg.

For more information about Bombardier click here.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.