The $800-million “signature bridge” that the state of Florida promised the people of Miami is distinguishing itself in another way: as a bitterly contested best-value procurement. Florida transportation officials are aggressively defending the process against Miami-based critics who prefer a runner-up Fluor-led joint venture that has filed a protest after losing the selection process by 0.53 points out of a possible 90. The protest essentially says the Florida Dept. of Transportation gamed the scoring system to steer the award to its preferred choice, a design by an Archer Western-de Moya Group venture that also promised completion one year earlier than its closest rival.
There is no basis for the idea that FDOT effectively overrode an unusual scoring system that gave great weight to aesthetics, said James Wolfe, FDOT’s District 6 secretary. In denying the contract to the joint venture of Fluor-Astaldi-MCM, FDOT followed the same procedures that were first laid out in the request for proposals, Wolfe averred.