RTC bus contract goes round and round


You remember the children's song. Sing it with us!

The valley's bus contract goes round and round,

Round and round, round and round,

The valley's bus contract goes round and round,

All through the town.

The RTC tells the low bidder to "Move on back,

move on back, move on back!"

The RTC tells the low bidder to "Move on back!"

All through the town.

The incumbent high bidder says, "Wah, wah, wah!

Wah, wah, wah! Wah, wah, wah!"

The incumbent high bidder says, "Wah, wah, wah!"

All through the town.

The judge says the case is open and shut,

open and shut, open and shut.

The judge says the case is open and shut,

All day long.

The RTC tells the judge to "Shush, shush, shush!"

"Shush, shush, shush! Shush, shush, shush!"

The RTC tells the judge to "Shush, shush, shush!"

All day long.

The taxpayers who fund the bus say "(Bleep), (bleep), (bleep)!"

"(Bleep), (bleep), (bleep)! (Bleep), (bleep), (bleep)!"

The taxpayers who fund the bus say "(Bleep), (bleep), (bleep)!"

All day long.

The toddlers on the Regional Transportation Commission continue to bungle the valley's bus contract, one of the biggest in the United States. They are needlessly dragging on a matter that was settled months ago. And the cost of their nonfeasance could be exceedingly expensive to the public.

On Thursday, as they have for months, the eight-member commission voted 4-4 on a new seven-year contract. Half favor First Transit, which came in $50 million less than the current operator, Veolia Transportation. The other half want to stay with Veolia, even though Veolia's bid would result in reduced service and higher costs to riders and taxpayers.

The four commissioners who are sticking with Veolia are Clark County Commissioners Larry Brown and Chris Giunchigliani and Las Vegas City Council members Steve Ross and Lois Tarkanian. Their refusal to budge keeps Veolia on the job, under an extension of a contract that expired last month, at a higher price than First Transit has promised.

Those commissioners are complaining that the bid process -- one they authorized -- was flawed, putting too much emphasis on pricing and not enough on technical considerations. That very process was lauded by the Federal Transportation Administration, RTC member and Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler points out.

The root of the dispute is a 4-3 vote in favor of First Transit in May, when Mrs. Tarkanian was absent. Veolia challenged the vote, saying a majority of total members was needed, not simply a majority of those present. An attorney general's office opinion agreed. So Mr. Brown, the board's chairman, has refused to sign the contract.

First Transit sued, and District Judge Rob Bare declared the May vote was legal and binding. Judge Bare has warned that he might order the RTC to sign the contract with First Transit. And the Federal Transportation Administration has threatened to yank federal funds from the RTC if it doesn't make a decision on the contract soon.

Nevada has had enough costly embarrassments from elected officials who refuse to do their jobs, from the Legislature in redistricting to the County Commission in pandering to union contractors. And by sticking with Veolia, the RTC is effectively saying local government services are off-limits to outside competition.

The RTC should sign the contract with First Transit -- before the wheels on the bus come off.

 

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