Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Building, Building Everywhere

Construction is on the minds of the ACCD Board and Mayor Phil Hardberger. While Mayor Hadberger is giving it to a “substantial minority”, the ACCD Board is just trying to set some guidelines for on how to spend the money San Antonio voters gave them.

Mayor Hardberger has clearly tried to transform the city in his first term. From ensuring that the Texas A&M satilate campus is established, to getting Washington Mutual in town, going all the way to the extravagant New Orleans Saint and Florida Marlins proposals.

Now it is remodeling a downtown plaza.

The first proposal would have closed down Dolorosa and Commerce (two main downtown roads).
The biggest concern for opponents was Commerce, which handles up to 18,000 vehicles per day and is the busiest street bordering the plaza. Dolorosa, for its part, takes on 13,800 vehicles a day.
The new compromise has appeased some but not Frost Bank’s Tom Frost, Mark Penner, and other local businesses.

The votes in city council is expected in mid-June and it few are expected to notice.

The ACCD board is more boring and twice as confusing. Some say we are eliminating competition while others think we are getting contractors involved in the process earlier.
Jim Rindfuss reminded his colleagues that the method, construction manager at-risk, played a role in a bribery scandal three years ago that ended with the indictment of three former board members. In that case, trustees used the method to award architect Louis Cruz a $14.4 million contract based on questionable criteria.

"We are returning to the very thing that put ACCD in the hole," Rindfuss fumed.
No one else on the board or on the citizen’s advisory panel has public agreed with Rindfuss, but some are concerned with the bid delivery method that could favor larger contractors and individuals with ties to the bid.

The first round of contracts has an estimated cost of $22 million, and it should be a good test case to see how easy it is to bribe the board again. The question is how easy does the board want it to be… again…


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