Dozens of contractors barred from participating in light rail project

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MINNEAPOLIS — Dozens of contractors are disqualified on bidding on Minneapolis' Southwest Light Rail Transit project after the Metropolitan Council released a modified bid document. The new edition includes a list of s firms whose participation in the initial design process would create a conflict of interest, Finance & Commerce magazine reports.

Kate Brickman, a representative for the council, says that disqualifying those contractors is “in alignment with [Federal Transit Administration] best practice” and supports the council's intention of “maintaining a level playing field for all our contracts.”

The magazine reports that the excluded businesses include a number of disadvantaged business enterprises. That calls into question whether the council can meet its stated goal of 16 percent participation by small businesses and those owned by women and minorities. Brickman says that the council believes there are “plenty of qualified businesses that can perform the duties required.”

The council has rejected four previous bids ranging from $796.5 million to $1.08 billion on the grounds that they were too high or the contractors were “non-responsive.” The modified bid document provides for more cash allocated to contractors up-front and suggests ways to cut down on costs, such as arranging schedules to prevent paying overtime.

Bids are due Jan. 9, and the council is expected to announce a contractor in April.

See the original article online.
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