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High Speed Rail Questioned

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(WLNS) - "I don't want to say bad deal. I want to say its not the best deal. its not a good deal. its a deal i believe has not been though through."

The State Transportation Department is poised to launch a new train service between Detroit and Chicago with trains moving at 110 miles an hour. Problem is the state does not own the extra trains to provide the service as AMTRAK does not have enough equipment to do the job.

Enter MDOT director Kirk Stuedle whose department created a Request for a Proposal from train builders but when they opened the bids, only on manufacturer, from Spain replied.

Former state senator and avid train enthusiast Joe Schwarz complains the one company that offered a bid, Talco, should not supply the trains because the train stations on the route would have to be retrofitted to accommodate that equipment.

Schwarz: "This is the wrong equipment."
Reporter: "They wrote this proposal, the allegation is, to fit one company is that correct?
Schwarz: "There was only one company that could respond to that RFP, yes."

Mr. Schwarz has asked the governor to order MDOT to rebid the contract so that other companies could bid.

But the director contends, everyone had a chance to bid and the company that is now complaining never told the state it was a one-sided bid.

"They were in the pre bid meeting and they didnt even raise that objection," said Kirk Stuedle, MDOT Director.

This local public relations consultant has been hired by a chicago train company that reportedly wants to bid on the high speed train equipment and John Truscott contends the MDOT bidding process was "smelly."

Mr. Schwarz would not go that far, "I don't think its a smell test or not a smell test. i don't think they though it through."

The director reports he can not stop the bidding process now as the state wants to know if this bid makes sense.

Struedle adds, "Does this make sense or not. it may not for the reasons sSnator Schwarz talked about. it may not make sense but the procurement process must stay entact and than at that point we can make the decision."

Meanwhile adding three more trains for this high speed service remains stalled at the station.

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