MDOT Grilled Over Lone Response For High-Speed Rail RFP

June 11, 2014

from Gongwer News Service, 11 June 2014:

The Department of Transportation took major heat from members of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday [June 10th] over questions surrounding the department’s request for proposal process, as well as why railroad company Talgo is the only company to submit a bid to Michigan on a high-speed rail project.

Critics have charged the RFP was written for Talgo to win it in the end, but department administrator Tim Hoeffner contends he doesn’t know why Talgo was the only one to submit a proposal.

“We issued the RFP and it was basically for any and all who wished to propose,” he said. “We knew it was a relatively small universe (of) three or four companies.”

…Another point of questioning was how well the company had been received elsewhere. In Wisconsin, for instance, the state terminated the contract, and France is suing Talgo… Mr. Hoeffner maintained that the department was in the middle of reviewing the RFP and just because it was doing so, that did not mean Talgo had actually won the contract.

…The department admitted there were some “shortcomings” about Talgo, one being its lack of interoperability with the current track holder, Amtrak…

Despite the criticism from most of the committee, [Senator Morris] Hood [(D-Detroit)] said he feels the department is doing its job the way it’s supposed to, but the only question is whether the bidder, Talgo, is qualified or not…

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