April 25, 2013 9:00 PM

High-speed rail bidding standards were lowered

When the California High-Speed Rail Authority put the first stretch of its statewide train system out for bids last year, the agency set a high technical standard for five contracting teams courting the more than $1 billion construction contract. In March 2012, the authority's board decreed that even if all five teams submitted bids, only the three most "technically competitive" firms could compete based on cost to build the 29-mile segment in Madera and Fresno counties. The teams with the lowest technical scores would be dropped and their price envelopes returned unopened. That rule didn't stick.

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