California governor axes Bay Bridge PR contract

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has cancelled a contract between the state's Department of Transportation and agency Words Pictures Ideas worth nearly $10 million to promote major bridgework in the Bay Area through digital and community relations.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has cancelled a contract between the state's Department of Transportation and agency Words Pictures Ideas worth nearly $10 million to promote major bridgework in the Bay Area through digital and community relations.

PRWeek was first to report on the contract in July. The state wanted to highlight the opening of the eastern span replacement of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which has been under construction since 2002, and the seismic retrofit work on the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges in Northern California.

The governor's office killed the contract because it worried the cost was too high just weeks after voters approved new taxes for the state.

"We felt it was excessive, and not a proper use of toll-payer money," said Jim Evans, spokesman for the governor's Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, which oversees the Caltrans-led Bay Bridge project, to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Ben Davis, the founder of Words Pictures Ideas, told the Sacramento Bee that the company received notice on Saturday and that it came "as a bit of a surprise." Caltrans, he said, had "always expressed happiness with the work that we've done."

The news of this cancellation does not bode well for another contract that California's DOT put up for grabs in October. That contract, valued at around $9 million, was for a public education, outreach, and rail-safety education program.

A contract officer for that account told PRWeek that an intent-to-award notice had yet to be released because “we are waiting for an approval from the program to proceed.”

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