Californicating the taxpayers [Darleen Click]
Oh look! US Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, right in the middle of the high-speed train Browndoggle
Out of the entire universe of those who could have won the first phase construction contract for California’s high speed rail boondoggle, who would stand out as the last person who would win it if there were no political patronage.
Put another way, who is the most likely person to win it if there is political patronage?
Both questions have the same answer: Richard Blum, the husband of California senator Diane Feinstein.
So, who won the contract? Blum, of course, as the principle owner of Tutor Perini, the lead firm in the three-firm consortium selected by the California High Speed Rail Authority.
Yes, Diane, it really does look that bad to us little people.
On the face of it, it looks bad. But when you consider that the California High-Speed Rail Authority the bidding process that would have eliminated Feinstein’s hubby’s consortium, was changed last July enabling it to win …
The California High-Speed Rail Authority announced last week that the Tutor Perini-Zachry-Parsons joint venture was the top-rated contender among five bidders seeking to build the initial 29 miles of track between Madera and Fresno.
While it offered the lowest price at $985.1 million, the Tutor Perini team’s technical score ranked last. Ferrovial and Acciona, two Spanish firms with significant high-speed rail experience, had the highest technical mark but bid almost $1.4 billion. [...]
In March 2012, the rail authority’s board set up a two-step process for weighing the bids. In the first step, the bidders were supposed to be narrowed to three based only on a technical evaluation. Only the bids submitted by the remaining contenders would be opened. The winner was to be selected on a combination of price and technical scores.
Under that process, the Tutor Perini consortium and another team led by Skanska, a Swedish company, would have been eliminated after the first round, leaving groups led by Colorado-based Kiewit and two teams led by Spanish firms, Dragados and Ferrovial. [...]
The agency changed the evaluation process in July, according to an agency spokesman. The official did not provide details of the internal process used to alter the criteria.
… looking merely “bad” is the least of it.
And it’s not like Tutor Perini hasn’t had corruption issues before
Tutor Perini is one of the largest contractors in the country. Critics have complained that the firm tends to bid low to win contracts and then seeks change orders and contract amendments that increase costs.
The firm has handled many major construction projects successfully. But it also has been embroiled in controversies involving accusations of overbilling, fraud and shoddy workmanship related to the Los Angeles subway, San Francisco International Airport and public works projects in New York.
Just remember, gentle reader, while you may snicker that California is going to build high speed rail from Madera to Fresno at the bargain rate of $35 million per mile, it isn’t going to be just California tax dollars that get sucked up in the crony project.
Feinstein will see to it. For the Childrens!
Tags: california, corruption, cronyism, dianne feinstein, high speed rail, tutor perini