The Idaho Transportation Board is meeting right now to re-interview the two leading bidders to oversee the state’s biggest-ever highway construction project, the GARVEE bond-funded “Connecting Idaho” project. First, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Washington Group International each drew a card – PB pulled a 5 of clubs, while WGI got the king of spades. That allowed WGI to make the call in a coin toss, which it won – and then chose to make its presentation second, letting PB go first.
After the two presentations, lots of Q & A, and some board discussion, the board is scheduled to award the big contract – worth up to $5 million a year – this afternoon. Its initial award to WGI was challenged both by PB and by federal authorities for improper political considerations in steering the contract to a local firm – something not allowed under federal regulations. This time, board members have been instructed to stick to their four criteria, and not talk about who’s local and who’s not. Both firms are stressing their Idaho ties – WGI is based in Boise, and PB’s lead person for the Idaho project is the just-retired former chief engineer at ITD.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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