Lawmakers are blasting a no-bid state contract with a Spanish train company.
The $47.5 million deal to buy two trains from Talgo went before the Joint Finance Committee Tuesday afternoon, where it faced harsh criticism from Republican lawmakers.
State Representative Robin Vos (R-Racine) called the process surrounding the deal a sham, and says it’s embarrassing that the state of Wisconsin is entering into contracts without a competitive bidding process. He says there’s no way to know if the deal will actually save taxpayers any money.
State Department of Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi says the decision to go with Talgo came after no other companies responded to a request for information on potential train purchases. He says the information was out there, and nobody else chose to reply.
Busalacchi says companies now complaining about the state’s order with Talgo are just experiencing “sour grapes” because they ignored the potential deal.
Still, state Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) says the plan should have been put out for bids, once the DOT knew what it wanted.
The JFC approved the contract on an 11-4 vote. Lawmakers did remove $500,000 in contingency funds also requested by the governor.