BandA wrote:Ah. Managed to find a copy of the article. I read it that they slanted the contract to the vendor they wanted to win. Or MeDOT is incompetent.
Since I know and have met Nate Moulton and other leaders from Maine DOT in a professional capacity I feel comfortable assuring you that incompetence should be the last of your worries. I'm somewhat disappointed that it was even mentioned.
I think the RFP made it clear what their expectations were and that there had in fact been changes to operating conditions. Specifically that Maine DOT expected equipment that met modern accessibility and safety standards, and also that Maine DOT was not going to accept a situation where they could potentially be "on the hook" for an operating subsidy in the event that Dragon cement's traffic collapsed.
The Courier-Gazette made a Freedom of Access request for the proposal documents from the Maine Department of
Document are still not published anywhere I can find them. Seems like an opaque process designed to keep the public out. Since I don't live in Maine I don't care enough to file FOIA requests there.
Transportation and the state has released the documents along with the scores for the two companies. See attached table.
Nothing opaque about it. If you want to see the documents just file your own Freedom of Access Act (state version of federal Freedom of Information Act) request and you'll get to see the same information that the newspaper did. I'm disappointed that you would indicate that a process this transparent is "designed to keep the public out". Maine's laws on these matters are quite strong and as someone that has been a records custodian for documents subject to the FOAA I can assure you that the law is quite clear about how information like this must be handled. The documents are accessible and subject only to the barest request requirements from the FOAA.
Chuck Jensen, vice president and chief operating officer of Maine Eastern's parent company, Morristown & Erie Railway,
I don't understand either, and I read the bureaucrat's explanation.
said he does not understand how the state awarded Central Maine & Quebec any points for passenger service. He also
pointed out that those points made the difference between Maine Eastern's winning and losing the 10-year contract.
I think it was quite simple. CMQ said they could accommodate a third party and that they had previous operating history doing exactly this. Maine Eastern's freight portion was weaker and that is why they lost. CMQ apparently made credible claims that they could improve the business. Had I been evaluating the application I would have been skeptical just as I'm sure others were as well. Maine Eastern also indicated a substantial need for additional funding for their grandfathered passenger equipment and made no claims about the potential for additional business.
In my eyes I think the key here is that the application evaluators felt CMQ made a credible claim in regards to obtaining additional business. The RFP was structured to ensure that Maine DOT did not end up in a position where they would be "on the hook" for an operating subsidy which they couldn't pay. I think I would have structured my RFP in exactly the same manner had I been up against a similar problem (potential loss of Dragon's traffic).