And then there was one: The Seattle Monorail Project announced Friday, Aug. 6, that one of its two teams of builders authorized to bid on the 13.7-mile Green Line's construction has dropped from the competition. Team Monorail, headed up by Bombardier Transportation of Montreal, builder of the newly opened Las Vegas monorail, said it was withdrawing immediately. That leaves only Cascadia Monorail, led by Hitachi Ltd., as sole bidder on the $1.6 billion project.
SMP spokesperson Natasha Jones says Team Monorail folded its hand "due to the challenge of trying to develop a new team." TM had lost two major team members in the spring when builders Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc. and Granite Construction quit as major contractors, not wanting to shoulder the liability of creating the biggest planned monorail commuter line in America.
Now facing the prospect of being held captive by one bidder, the monorail will nonetheless proceed with its scheduled bid opening and construction plans, says Jones. The Cascadia bid will be opened Aug. 16.
SMP Executive Director Joel Horn was upbeat, despite this major setback for a financially troubled and design-challenged project. "While we had hoped to receive proposals from two contractor teams," Horn said in a statement, "from the outset this process has anticipated that eventually we'd be dealing with only one team. Whether we receive one proposal or two, the successful proposal must still meet all of our rigorous criteria to ensure that the taxpayer is protected."