State pushes back bid process in bridge project

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | 10:45 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — Missouri is pushing back the schedule for when it'll seek bids for a new Mississippi River bridge linking Illinois to St. Louis to allow for more study of how to best use minority and women contractors.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said it's responding to public concerns by pushing back its solicitation of bids roughly six weeks until Oct. 30. Bids now will be opened Nov. 30.

The department says the new timelines will help determine if minority- and women-owned businesses are fully being used around St. Louis.

The additional time will allow the department's Illinois counterpart to address land-acquisition issues on its side of the river.

Both states hope to begin construction on the proposed four-lane, $640 million span as early as next year, with work taking four to six years.

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Roger Clegg September 16, 2009 | 12:33 p.m.

Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract? It's fine to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either--whether it's labeled a "set-aside," a "quota," or a "goal," since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it costs the taxpayers money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it's almost always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and comments we submitted to the Colorado DOT here: ). Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 16, 2009 | 12:57 p.m.

("Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract?")
Lobbyists? To get votes from and appease certain demographics?
Botched attempt to truly have an open playing field for all concerned parties?
Thanks for the link.

(Report Comment)

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