Sustained Outrage

Highway robbery VII — shut out firm?

When Gov. Joe Manchin first explained his reasons for wanting to replace the federal process for choosing engineering firms with a bill to require the state to take the lowest bidder, he said the state was spending too much on engineering fees.

He also said he West Virginia business owners who had built successful businesses asked him why they couldn’t get a share of the state’s business. Manchin said his is intended to open up the state’s business to more firms.

This Parkersburg News and Sentinel story cites Jennifer Fox of Fox Engineering in Ripley, who says almost exactly what the governor said. Fox says she has not been able to win a new state project in five years. She says the state routinely awards bids to the same few firms, but that it would be difficult for her to qualify under the governor’s bill because of the requirement that engineering firms post a bond.

Thanks to a helpful reader for passing on the story.