AUSTIN, TX: The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) pulled the plug on an RFP seeking PR support for what could be the state's largest-ever public engineering project.
TxDOT withdrew its Trans Texas Corridor RFP nearly six months after issuing it. The contract was expected to be worth about $1 million annually.
A pet project of Gov. Rick Perry (R), Trans Texas calls for developing 4,000 miles of 1,200-foot transportation corridors that would include multilane highways, utility easements, and rail lines.
Agencies bidding on the project were TateAustin with EnviroMedia, Edelman, Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Fleishman-Hillard, Christian Hubble, and Staats-Falkenberg.
Austin sources said finalists had been selected and notified before TxDOT rejected all eight bid packages submitted.
"We were deep into the process," confirmed TxDOT public information director Randall Dillard. He would not discuss why TxDOT pulled the RFP.
"We definitely are going to have an outreach program for the Trans Texas Corridor," Dillard said. "We are evaluating opportunities and options to make it an effective and efficient outreach campaign."
Dillard said TxDOT has no immediate plans to issue another RFP. Seeking competitive bids would be necessary if the government agency decided that it definitely wanted outside help, because state law requires bidding for purchases over $2,000.
The legislature has set aside no funds for the PR program, and TxDOT had planned to pay for the work out of its own appropriations.
Meanwhile, plans for the massive multimodal project move forward. TxDOT hired the HNTB/HDR engineering firm shortly after issuing the PR RFP.