Builder of 1st phase of California's bullet train faces scrutiny

The state bullet train agency is pushing full throttle to start construction of the important first phase of the California high-speed rail system in as little as six weeks, prompting scrutiny of the state's selection of a construction company with the worst technical scores among bidders.

Tutor Perini Corp. won the competition to build the first 29 miles of the high-speed rail route on a low bid of $985 million, even though its design quality, safety plan and engineering, among other factors, ranked at the bottom of five teams seeking the work.

The highest-scoring team, led by the Spanish firm Ferrovial, bid $1.4 billion. The second-highest scorer, led by the Spanish firm Dragados, bid about $100 million more than Tutor.

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-- Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

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