BY JIM DOOLEY – Bombardier Transportation, one of two bidders rejected by the City for a $1.4 billion piece of the Honolulu rapid transit project, will appeal the rejection to both the federal government and state court, a company official said today.

The other losing bidder, Sumitomo Corp. of America, said it is weighing its options and has 10 days before deciding whether to appeal.

In separate recent decisions, state administrative hearings officer David Karlen turned down appeals from Bombardier and Sumitomo which asserted flaws in the City’s June selection of Ansaldo Honolulu JV to supply, operate and maintain vehicles for the $5 billion Honolulu Area Rapid Transit project.

Karlen’s rejection of Sumitomo’s appeal occurred over the weekend. sumitomo decision.

Bombardier vice president Andrew Robbins said in a statement today the company “strongly insists that its Core Systems rail contract proposal was wrongly disqualified” by the City.

“Somewhere along the way, City staff has lost focus on its responsibility to the taxpayer and instead is focused on defending its actions and errors that ultimately will cost taxpayers well in excess of $100 million during the life of the contract,” Robbins said.

Robbins released a copy of an appeal letter submitted to the Federal Transportation Administration stating that the City wrongfully disqualified Bombardier’s bid for the core systems contract. FTA Appeal

“Bombardier went to the FTA because public money is in danger of being wasted and mismanaged if corrective action isn’t taken,” said Robbins.

“Taxpayers will be deprived of the Bombardier proposal that provided both the lowest total price and the highest technical and management scores from city evaluators,” said Robbins.

And he said a state court appeal will be filed by close of business today.

A Sumitomo spokeswoman said “no decision” has been made yet on whether an appeal will be filed of Karlen’s ruling, issued Saturday.

Sumitomo’s multi-pronged appeal asserted that a City evaluation committee failed to adequately consider Ansaldo’s past performance on other rapid transit projects when considering the “price realism and price realism” of the company’s bid.

Karlen ruled that the evaluation committee properly followed the requirements of the City’s detailed “request for proposals” in selecting Ansaldo for the contract.

The evaluation committee and Karlen did not consider recent revelations of financial problems besetting Ansaldo Breva, the Italian manufacturer of rail cars to be used in the Honolulu system.

The parent of Ansaldo, another Italy-based firm called FinMeccanica SpA, said it may sell or restructure its train-making unit because of financial and mechanical problems.

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Jim Dooley joined the Hawaii Reporter staff as an investigative reporter in October 2010. Before that, he has worked as a print and television reporter in Hawaii since 1973, beginning as a wire service reporter with United Press International. He joined Honolulu Advertiser in 1974, working as general assignment and City Hall reporter until 1978. In 1978, he moved to full-time investigative reporting in for The Advertiser; he joined KITV news in 1996 as investigative reporter. Jim returned to Advertiser 2001, working as investigative reporter and court reporter until 2010. Reach him at Jim@hawaiireporter.com