Wednesday, February 24, 2016

City repaving guarantee in question

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 3:10 PM

click to enlarge This is a small pothole compared to some of the craters around town. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • This is a small pothole compared to some of the craters around town.

It won't be long now before the city gets its street paving program under way after voters approved a .6 of a percent sales tax increase last November. It's expected to raise some $50 $250 million in five years.

In an effort to get the biggest bang for its buck, the city asked for bids on providing a two-year warranty and also a five-year warranty. The idea was to determine how much of a cost differential there is, with an eye toward not having to redo the repaved streets a mere two years from now.

Well, wouldn't you know. There's opposition to this, and it's coming from one of the most politically influential groups in town — the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.

In a letter to Public Works Operations Manager Corey Farkas dated Feb. 24, the RBA says "insurance costs alone of the proposed five-year warranty would prove cost prohibitive."

The RBA, via its President and CEO Dirk Draper, also notes that a two-year warranty is the "industry standard."

I'm no expert in paving standards, but two years is hardly the standard in other cities. More than a decade ago, I wrote a comprehensive story about the city's street problems, some of which related to a mere one-year warranty it required for new streets being built. After that report ran, the city changed its policy to require a two-year warranty. But even at that time, some cities required five-year guarantees, and even longer.

Draper ends the letter by urging the city to remove the five-year bidding requirement so the RFP "is not unnecessarily burdensome to business competing for these contracts."

Read the whole letter here:

No word on what kind of process will be used to either remove the five-year warranty bidding request, or leave the specifications the way they are. The deadline for bids is March 9.

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