The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co., the losing bidder for the state’s $2.68 billion commuter rail contract, is scheduled to make its case against the T in Suffolk Superior Court on Friday, as part of its efforts to retain control of commuter rail service.
Attorneys for the company and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority are scheduled to appear before Suffolk Superior Judge Mitchell H. Kaplan to make arguments over whether the T should be able to continue transferring control of the commuter rail system to Keolis, the company that won the bid.
Since the award was announced in January, representatives from the commuter railroad company have alleged that their competitor’s proposal was inadequate, that the T overlooked fundamental shortcomings in Keolis’s bid, that the company is financially unreliable. that Keolis officials performed a bait-and-switch by promoting transportation managers that reneged on promises to operate the Massachusetts system, and that T staff maintained inappropriate communications with Keolis executives to coach them through the bidding process.
“The holes in the MBTA’s procurement process are big enough to drive a locomotive through,” Alan Moldawer, an attorney for the commuter railroad company, said in a statement Thursday. “Every bid for a government contract must adhere to a strict, legally prescribed process, but the MBTA ignored its fundamental responsibility to provide a level playing field to both bidders and overlooked obvious deficiencies that allowed SNCF/
Keolis to stay in the bid process.”
Last month, the commuter railroad company filed an administrative appeal to the T, asking that the head of procurement and the T’s general counsel review the company’s complaints of unfairness of the bidding process. The results of that appeal are pending.
This week, the commuter railroad company filed a request for an injunction, asking that a judge prevent the T and Keolis from continuing with the transition process and require that the T extend the company’s contract for 90 days.
The company also wants the court to hold a hearing to review its allegations and award the $2.68 billion contract to the commuter railroad company or demand that the T redo the bidding process.
The legal maneuvering has drawn fire from the T, where officials say the commuter railroad company is violating its contract by taking its gripes to the court.
“Rather than help in an orderly transition to benefit the MBTA’s commuter rail passengers, as required by the terms of their existing state contract, [the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co.] continues to play the role of obstructionist,” Keolis spokesman Alan Eisner wrote in a statement in response to the commuter railroad company’s court filing.Martine Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.