Former AATA Ad Contractor Protests Award

Transit Advertising Group Ann Arbor (TAG Ann Arbor) of Farmington Hills, Mich., made a formal protest to the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority regarding AATA’s award of a contract to another vendor – CBS Outdoor Advertising of Lexington, New York.  The contract previously had been held by TAG. The written protest was included in the AATA board’s Sept. 5 meeting information packet.

TAG president Randy Oram addressed the board during public commentary at the Sept. 5 meeting. Also during the meeting, AATA CEO Michael Ford pointed the board to his written response to the protest and asked the board to uphold his decision to award the contract to CBS. The board voted in a formal resolution to uphold the award to CBS.

At its Aug. 16, 2012 meeting, the AATA board authorized a three-year contract with CBS Outdoor Advertising of Lexington, New York, to handle placement of ads on its buses and bus stops. Previously, the contract had been held by TAG for the last seven years, but expired. The AATA selected CBS Outdoor Advertising from seven respondents to an RFP (request for proposals).

In the written protest, Oram details a number of objections, among them a contention that the proposal from CBS did not actually respond to the AATA’s request for proposals. TAG also points to the recent elimination of a CBS staff position for someone who’s named in the CBS proposal as a person who would be part of a team fulfilling the terms of the contract. For its part, the AATA maintains that it followed its RFP procedures, that it violated no laws, and that CBS was able and willing to meet the requirements of the RFP but that TAG, based on its proposal, was either unwilling or unable to meet the requirements. TAG felt that the contingencies it had included in its proposal – based on its experience as the vendor over the last seven years – had been held against it in the AATA’s evaluation of the proposal. [.pdf of TAG protest and AATA response]

This brief was filed from AATA headquarters at 2700 S. Industrial Highway, where the board’s Sept. 5 meeting was held. A more detailed report will follow: [link]