Messenger: Delays in Road Projects Threaten Federal Funds in St. Louis County

By on March 6, 2017

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  In December, Clayton lawyer Dudley McCarter had a simple request for the St. Louis County Council.

McCarter’s client, Gershenson Construction Co., had been awarded a bid last year to do some roadwork on South Broadway near Jefferson Barracks Park. The County Council had approved the nearly $500,000 project in May. The company had signed and returned the contract and prepared for the work. It bought equipment. It purchased the required insurance bond.

Then it waited. And waited. And waited.

McCarter told the council he was there out of a “sense of bewilderment.”

What’s the delay, he wanted to know?

He never got an answer.

A few weeks after he addressed the council, Gershenson’s contract and bid bond were returned to the company “without explanation,” McCarter says. After the seven-month delay, the project was canceled.

When it comes to delays in road and bridge projects in St. Louis County, Gershenson is not alone.

Last month, the Missouri Department of Transportation warned the county that unexplained delays in seven road projects were threatening the loss of millions of dollars in federal funding connected to the work. It was the second time in a calendar year that MoDOT had threatened the withholding of federal money over unexplained delays.

“In April 2016, your agency was similarly warned about what appears to be unnecessary delays in your bidding and award process,” wrote Randall Glaser, a MoDOT design engineer. The Post-Dispatch obtained the letter in an open records request. “Continued evidence of unnecessary delays will result in MoDOT withholding funding authorization for currently programmed federal-aid projects and could result in your agency being ineligible to compete for future … funding.”

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