Will this contract dilemma further delay the DC Streetcars?

Article from the Washington Business Journal:

The District has canceled a proposed $8.7 million deal for two new streetcars after a competing bidder protested the decision, and a formal review found its complaints to be on point.

The D.C. Department of Transportation’s award to Portland, Ore.-based United Streetcar LLC, a subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works, was rescinded days ago under what DDOT is calling a “corrective action.” The cancellation comes on the heels of the Czech Republic-based Inekon Group’s Dec. 21 protest of the award.

“As a result of Inekon’s assertions,” DDOT has agreed to cancel the proposed contract award to United Streetcar, rescind the cost/price trade-off analysis it used to justify the deal and will “determine whether to proceed with or cancel” the request for proposals, according to the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.

The withdrawal was noted in a motion filed with the D.C. Contract Appeals Board.

“The selection has been rescinded,” said DDOT spokesman John Lisle. “The solicitation continues and we are determining our course of action.”

Inekon built the District’s first two streetcars. It offered to build the next two, slated to run on the H Street/Benning Road line, for $9.5 million. While its bid was higher than United Streetcar’s, Inekon argued in its protest that the winning contractor’s low technical score should have ruled it ineligible for the award.

The 2.2 mile H Street/Benning streetcar line, running from west of First Street NE to east of Oklahoma Avenue NE, is expected to open in mid-2013. Streetcar construction, testing and delivery takes months, if not a year-plus.

How this turn of events will affect the long-awaited line’s opening is unclear.


United Streetcar has “received no formal notice of the cancellation of our contract,” Chandra Brown, the company’s president, said in a statement.

“After winning a successful bid we signed our first contract in June 2011, that contract was eventually sent out for rebid, which we won again and signed the second contract in September 2011,” Brown said. “We are very hopeful for a positive resolution, as it is disappointing that this process is causing a delay in getting American made streetcars to the citizens of the District of Columbia.”