Tom Warne Report, 15 June 2012
New York state transportation officials will rebid a $72 million bridge project this summer after a judge ruled for a Capital Region company which claimed state officials illegally tainted a bid by including union rules. The state initially indicated it would appeal the ruling, but has now confirmed that a new bidding process will take place.
Lancaster Development Inc., a non-union company, said it was the low bidder at $67.8 million – $4.5 million less than the second-lowest bidder. The state ruled Lancaster’s bid as “non-responsive,” however, because the bid did not include a project labor agreement, or PLA that the state attached to the bid. Unions favor PLAs as a way to seek for jobs for their members, and in return, unions agree not to delay projects through protests or strikes.
State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Teresi invalidated the contract on March 1, saying the court record of bid documents submitted in the case “seriously undermines” the state’s claim that a PLA would save money. “As the previous bidding for the Exit 122 project was tainted by the invalid PLA, the project must be rebid,” Teresi ruled.
New York DOT spokesman Bill Reynolds declined to comment on the state’s decision not to appeal the ruling, except to say, “We are taking steps necessary that will allow us to rebid the contract.”