State pushes back on suggestion that Talgo bid was rigged

    A top state transportation official says it’s a "ridiculously blatant political stunt" to suggest Wisconsin’s no-bid contract with a Spanish manufacturer to produce high-speed rail calls was rigged.
    State Rep. Robin Vos, R-Racine, is holding up concerns raised last year by train maker Alstom as evidence the contract was tailored to favor Talgo.
    Alstom, which has a facility in New York and is based in France, sent a letter to DOT Secretary Frank Busalacchi complaining the state used a request for information on the project to "limit the State’s procurement evaluation process to a single bidder." The company complained it was led to believe the RFI would be used for planning, not procurement, and that a request for proposal would follow. If an RFP had been performed, according to the letter, the state would have found out that "most, if not all" car builders can manufacture cars with tilting capabilities, which the agency said was key for the project because it meant expensive upgrades to existing rail lines were not needed.
    "The bottom line is Gov. Doyle needs to prove to Wisconsin citizens that he spent their tax dollars wisely," Vos said in a release. "Striking secret sweetheart deals with foreign companies is not the way to do that."
    DOT executive assistant Chris Klein said if the state had done an RFP, it could not have required the trains to be built in Wisconsin, which Talgo will do, and that Alstom never responded to the RFI.
    "What Vos is now wanting is for a French company to build the trains," Klein said. "He criticizes the state for awarding the contract to a Spanish company then criticizes the state for not awarding it to a French company and preferring to send over 125 family supporting jobs out of Wisconsin and over to France."
    Read the letter:

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