State paid too much for governor's jet

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2005

The governor's jet is now a reality in the face of a highly suspect and highly irregular bid process.

From what I understand of the state's bid process, there is no way on God's green Earth that the Department of Public Safety should have awarded the bid to an outside firm when the 26-year Alaska firm was almost $1 million million less than the bid price asked by the state ($2.5 million) in its bid solicitation. The final price paid by the state of Alaska for the Westwind Astra II was $2.7 million, more than $200,000 over the maximum bid price. What is wrong with this picture?

These seem to be the salient facts of the bid process:

• The maximum bid price was $2.5 million in the request for bids put out by DPS.

• Turbo North offered a Dassault Falcon 10 for $1.576 million.

• Aircraft Marketing Ltd. offered an Israeli Aircraft Industries Westwind II for $2.692 million.

• The Falcon can get in and out of 5,000-foot runways; the Westwind requires 6,000 feet.

• The Falcon cruises faster than the Westwind.

• The Westwind uses 60 gallons of fuel per hour more than the Falcon.

• The bid required no damage history. The Westwind had significant damage history.

• A baggage space modification was required for both aircraft to meet the specified 55 cubic feet in the bid.

• Turbo North offered to meet this requirement with no increase to its bid price.

• Aircraft Marketing Ltd. charged the state of Alaska an additional $95,000 to meet the baggage space requirement necessitating the removal of an auxiliary fuel tank in the process, raising the cost of its offer to the state of Alaska to approximately $2.7 million.

The discrepancies in this situation warrant an investigation by a prosecutor and a legislative audit of DPS.

I would hope that Alaskans would consider a future in which Frank Murkowski's bull-in-the-china-shop style of Washington-come-to-Alaska politics and spending are retired. An Alaska government in which integrity is valued in our political leaders, not wished for. An Alaska government in which resource development with value-added processing is the policy, not something wished for. An Alaska whose governor will place Alaska and Alaskans as her highest priority. I believe that the qualities of this governor-to-be can be found in Sarah Palin.

Larry Wood


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