Documents released by the Kansas City (MO) Council this week regarding the selection of a team to develop a new terminal at the Kansas City International Airport revealed that the independent selection committee did not use a formal vote or ranking to select the winner, according to The Kansas City Star.
The selection committee highlighted the top selling points of proposals from the three leading bidders, with some line-item comparisons. However, it is uncertain how the committee landed on Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate as the winning bidder.
If final negotiations between Edgemoor and the city fall through, the AECOM-led consortium's bid may be up for consideration or the council could restart the bidding process. An informal ranking had AECOM's bid as the top choice as of mid-August.
Even if the Edgemoor team reaches a final deal with the city council for the terminal job, the questions around the process will almost certainly lead to protests on behalf of the three other bidders.
Bid protests, while not rampant, are also not uncommon. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that losing bidders filed 2,789 protests in 2016, an increase of 6% from 2015, according to Federal News Radio. Most of those protests were either withdrawn or dismissed before the GAO had a chance to rule. Of the 616 cases that made their way through the protest process last year, the GAO upheld 139 complaints.
Some indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts are immune from bid protests, however, if they fall under a certain dollar amount.
The bid process to select contractors to build prototypes for a potential wall along the U.S.–Mexico border faced protests this summer by two companies notified that their bids didn't make the final selection round. The protests have been dismissed, The Washington Post reported, but they would have held up construction until November at the earliest and still could impact the construction process, as one of the bidders plans to sue. U.S. Customers and Border Protection has since announced the winners.
Protests aren't limited to billion-dollar or federal projects.
In New Orleans, questions are swirling around the city's procurement process for the $6 million–plus renovation of Bourbon Street. City officials awarded the job to a local contractor, Hard Rock Construction, under an existing maintenance contract. In response, an attorney representing the Louisiana chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America penned a letter to the city contending that it had overstepped by making such an award.