BY MICHAEL RICONDA
New City – In an almost unanimous vote, the Rockland County Legislature approved yet another resolution reiterating its support for Brega Transportation Corp. in the company’s continued efforts to secure $70 million in county bus contracts. The resolution refers to a previous decision by the legislature, clarifying and supporting Resolution 457, which designated Brega as the lowest responsible bidder for a contract to operate the Transport of Rockland and TAPPANZEExpress bus systems.
If the resolution is given final approval from the county executive, it will end a long legal battle between Brega and the legislature on one side and the county executive on the other and secure transportation for Rockland commuters.
“Hopefully, this will be the last stop on a two and a half year bus ride,” Legislator Ilan Schoenberger joked.
Legislator John Murphy was the only legislator who did not vote for the resolution, choosing instead to abstain.
The re-approval followed a ruling by the New York State Appellate Court that forced Brega to revise its initial contract. Following the revisions, the court determined the county’s bidding procedure was sufficient to award the contract to Brega, whom the county had designated the lowest responsible bidder for putting in a bit about $6 million lower than the second lowest bidder. [This paragraph has been corrected. It originally said that the Appellate Court ruled in Brega’s favor, in fact they had ruled in the county executive’s favor and then Brega altered their contract to be in line with the ruling]
The Rockland Legislature and County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef used the decision to come to a final determination in a situation where the executive repeatedly blocked efforts to award the contract. Both parties agreed that the appeal should be a final decision, with Vanderhoef strongly suggesting he would approve the contract if Brega won the case.
Thanks to the approval, Rockland might have not only secured its transportation for the time being, but also avoided a loss of federal funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation. During the appeals process the DOT had expressed disapproval of the continued delays and issued a veiled warning to Vanderhoef to remedy the situation.