After Westchester County awarded Liberty Lines the contract to run the county’s Bee-Line bus system in December, the Federal Transit Administration said it was reviewing the procurement process to ensure it met the qualifications for the county to receive federal aid.
This week an FTA spokeswoman confirmed that the agency had completed its review and had no concerns with the county’s procurement.
But that final conclusion was not always so certain. Over the past year the FTA had been pressing the county to seek competitive proposals before awarding the five-year bus contract instead of rolling over Liberty’s longstanding agreement with the county. Under threat of losing $13 million in federal funds annually, the county put out a request for proposals.
But at least one bidder objected to a condition in the contract that a new operator put up a bond to cover the county in case it was sued by Liberty, which claims an ownership interest in the bus lines after compiling the system over the decades.
In the end, Liberty was the only bidder for the majority of county routes. One other operator runs three routes around Peekskill.