Kansas City official denies streetcar contract protest

08/22/2013 12:14 PM

08/22/2013 5:39 PM

A Kansas City official has denied a formal protest against the apparent winner of the downtown streetcar construction manager bid.

Procurement manager Cedric Rowan’s response, released Thursday, found no merit to the protest letter from Kiewit-Clarkson Infrastructure Co. Kiewit-Clarkson had challenged the city staff’s recommendation to award the construction manager contract to Herzog Contracting Corp. and Stacy and Witbeck.

“I find no factual ground to support this protest and therefore it is respectfully denied,” Rowan wrote.

Kiewit-Clarkson challenged a scoring chart that gave more points to Herzog-Stacy based on experience, project approach and pre-construction pricing. Kiewit-Clarkson particularly faulted a process that gave Herzog-Stacy a high score for its low pre-construction price but did not downgrade Herzog-Stacy for having a much higher change order fee.

“The result is that the city does not receive the best value and winds up paying much more for the project,” Kiewit-Clarkson project manager Harry Koenigs wrote.

Kiewit-Clarkson also said it has significant project delivery and light-rail experience, but its score didn’t reflect that experience. And it questioned whether the city’s evaluators all participated in the interviews, which may have jeopardized Kiewit-Clarkson’s score.

But Rowan responded that the selection committee representatives who scored the teams were all present in the interviews and objectively evaluated the competing proposals. He also said the scoring system was clearly spelled out in the bid solicitation documents.

“No deviations were found from the advertised bid documents or in the bid and scoring process,” he wrote.

City spokesman Danny Rotert said the final contract award decision still rests with the City Council. Some council members also have questioned the fairness of the scoring process.

Meanwhile, an opponent of the downtown streetcar taxes isn’t giving up her legal challenge.

Earlier this month, the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the legality of the downtown property taxes and sales taxes to help pay for the $100 million streetcar system. But downtown property owner Sue Burke and her attorney have asked for a rehearing before the appeals court or for transfer of the case to the Missouri Supreme Court for final review.

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