CATS behind on 10 new bus shelters; blames builder for defaulting on contract
The Capital Area Transit System has terminated its contract with the local construction company that was supposed to build and install 30 prefabricated bus shelters by the end of March, an action taken after CATS officials claimed the contractor failed to complete 10 of the shelters on time.
CATS officials say it is not clear why First Millennium Construction, which was awarded the $126,690 contract for the shelters last September, was unable to complete the work. But the agency is seeking legal advice as to how to proceed. So far, CATS has paid First Millennium $121,999—or nearly 97%—of the total cost, even though just two-thirds of the project was fulfilled.
“They were the low bidder on this project and they did 20 of the 30, but they didn’t finish the job,” says CATS CEO Bob Mirabito. “They put up a performance bond and we think we will have to execute it. We are working with our attorney to decide what to do next.”
First Millennium is a locally based construction company owned by Nathian Hossley and Sharon Hossley, according to its website. However, a local phone number for the company has been disconnected and no one answers at a New Orleans phone number listed online. The company’s website lists among its projects several clean-up, debris removal and construction projects following Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav. Nathian Hossley was also reportedly a part-owner of Spice Bistro on Perkins Road, which recently went out of business. Efforts to reach Nathian Hossley today were unsuccessful.
The lack of bus shelters has been among CATS’ many problem areas, and the agency has been working to correct the situation over the past year. In early 2014, it awarded a contract to The Luster Group to install 10 shelters, all of which were completed. Based on the success of that project, it issued an Invitation to Bid last fall to install 30 additional shelters. CATS spokeswoman Amie McNaylor says because the procurement process used was an ITB, the contract was awarded to First Millennium strictly on the basis of its low bid.
The 10 shelters not yet installed by First Millennium are to be located at: North and 44th streets; North Acadian Thruway and Windborne Avenue; Greenwell Street and Airline Highway; North Foster Drive at Starhill Baptist Church; Perkins Road at Essen Lane; Jefferson Highway at Corporate Boulevard; Jefferson Highway at Lobdell Avenue; Summa Avenue near Essen Lane; Siegen Lane at Siegen Village; and Perkins at the LSU Surgical Clinic.
In a separate deal, 50 additional new shelters will be installed on three major state roadways—Florida Boulevard, Harding Boulevard and Scenic Highway. Those shelters are part of a state Department of Transportation and Development program and are unrelated to the other shelters.