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Design-build Bidders Must Measure Upagainst Selection Criteria Not Non-existent Specs

Sunday, October 04, 2009 06:15 pm

Design-build Bidders Must Measure Upagainst Selection Criteria -- Not Non-existent Specs

Taxpayers' objection to Minneapolis' choice for a public bridge project fell flat since it was based on rules governing a traditional competitive-bid process and not design-build procurement.

To replace Minneapolis' I-35W bridge, which collapsed in 2007, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) initiated a design-build best-value procurement process that eventually selected Flatiron-Manson (Flatiron) for the project. A group of individual taxpayers objected to the award, claiming that MnDOT should have rejected Flatiron's proposal as nonresponsive. An appellate court considered whether the design-build statute gave MnDOT's technical review committee (TRC), which evaluated bidders' proposals, discretion in determining the responsiveness of a proposal. The answer was "yes."

'Nonresponsive' is in the eye of the public agency

The appellants pointed out that Minn. Stat. 161.3426 required the TRC to reject nonresponsive proposals. And they attempted to apply the common-law definition of a "nonresponsive proposal" -- one [...]

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