On appeal from the Final Action by New Jersey Transit Corporation Denying Bid Protest.
Approved for Publication January 24, 1997.
Before Judges Pressler, Humphreys and Wecker. The opinion of the court was delivered by Humphreys, J.A.D.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Humphreys
The opinion of the court was delivered by
Appellant, an unsuccessful bidder, challenges the award of a construction contract to R. M. Shoemaker Co. ("Shoemaker"), the lowest bidder. Appellant contends that the Shoemaker bid should have been rejected because it was untimely submitted and because it did not fully conform to the bidding specifications.
After a careful review of the record and the arguments presented, we affirm the agency's decision to award the contract to the lowest bidder.
According to the notice to bid, the bids had to be received at the New Jersey Transit ("NJT") Office on or before 3:00 p.m. on the designated day. The notice further provided that "bids received after the designated time will be considered late and not accepted."
At 3:00 p.m. that day, NJT had received three bids, including the appellant's bid. A NJT representative asked if there were any other bids in the room for delivery and then announced that the time to receive bids was closed. As the representative began to open the first bid, an administrative assistant on the NJT staff appeared in the doorway of the room with three persons. Each of the three persons represented an additional bidder. The assistant said that the three bidders had been sent by the security guard in the lobby to the wrong desk on the sixth floor and that they had arrived at that wrong location before 3:00 p.m.
After consulting with the Deputy Attorney General representing NJT, the representative decided to accept the three bids. He said that they would be accepted because each of the bidder's representatives had been in the building before 3:00 p.m. and had been misdirected by the security guard to the wrong receiving location on the sixth floor.
The six bids were opened and read. Shoemaker's bid at $38,816,947 was lowest. Appellant's bid at $39,690,900 was the second lowest. Shoemaker was awarded the contract.
NJT is an instrumentality of the State. See N.J.S.A. 27:25-2; N.J.S.A. 27:25-11. Purchases, contracts or agreements of NJT are made or awarded only after public advertisement for bids in the manner set forth in the New Jersey Public Transportation Act of 1979. N.J.S.A. 27:25-11(a); see also N.J.S.A. 27:25-2; N.J.S.A. 27:25-11; Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. ...