San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

March 27th, 2009
KBR contract still up in the air

STAFF REPORT

A engineering contract with KBR, formerly Kellogg Brown and Root, for part of the first phase of the San Marcos loop is not on the Hays County commissioners court agenda for Tuesday.

KBR critics who have pressed county leaders to award the contract to another firm have seized on the omission as evidence that Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe is inclined to recommend someone else. Asked it that was the case this afternoon, Inglabse did not say it was.

“I’m still looking at the options and determining how best to move forward at this point. I think its important when our constituents have a concern that we listen to that and determine what’s best for our community socially,” she said.

Dannenbaum Engineering was originally contracted to engineer the roughly one-mile segment of a new five-lane highway connecting existing McCarty Lane to Texas 123. Then a sea change in the commissioner court swept in a Democratic majority that put a countywide package of road improvements on hold awaiting voters’ verdict on a May 2007 bond proposal, which was rejected. When a new bond package was approved in November, the court decided to rebid the previously pending projects. As a result of that process, Ingalsbe recommended KBR to engineer FM 110, a contract estimated to cost $617,629.

A contingent of veterans and their supporters urged commissioners this week to forgo giving taxpayer money to KBR, which has been accused of a range of failures in Iraq where the company holds extensive procurement and transport contracts. Inglabse said she wanted at least a week to consider their views before calling for a final vote on the KBR contract.

The city has already contracted with KBR to engineer their portion, also roughly a mile, from the terminus of the county portion to Interstate 35 along the present route of McCarty Lane.

— BRAD ROLLINS

UPDATE 3:27 p.m.: A source familiar with the KBR issue, speaking on the condition the source not be named, said flatly of the contract, “It’s dead. We’re going to move on down the road.”

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