Sunday 18 November 2018

US multinational fails in court bid to block M50 toll contract

On average 136,000 vehicles use the tolled section of the M50 every day. Photo: Arthur Carron
On average 136,000 vehicles use the tolled section of the M50 every day. Photo: Arthur Carron

Tim Healy

An American multinational tolling technology company has failed in a High Court challenge to the awarding of the €200m-€400m contract to operate tolls on the M50 and on other roads in Ireland.

Transcore LP sued the National Roads Authority, now Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TFI), over the awarding of the contract to Turas, a consortium made up of Abtran Ltd, Vinci Concessions SAS and Vinci Highways SAS.

Turas was a notice party in the case and an application by the current toll operator, Emovis Operations Ireland, to intervene when the Transcore proceedings had nearly concluded was refused by Mr Justice David Barniville.

Emovis, which was also an unsuccessful bidder, has its own proceedings pending before the court over the public procurement contest. The existing contract (with Emovis) will expire in March 2019. An automatic suspension on the awarding of the new contract remains in place pending determination of those proceedings.

The M50 is one of the country's most heavily used roads with on average 136,000 vehicles per day passing though its tolled section.

Yesterday Mr Justice Barniville dismissed the Transcore challenge. While many issues of fact were ventilated during the hearing, he said, the essential question for him to decide was the interpretation of the quality scoring matrix in respect of one of the criteria used for evaluating one of three delivery plans presented by each bidder. The judge concluded that the interpretation of the tender documentation put forward by the TFI was clearly correct. He was satisfied Transcore failed to establish any breach of the rules of the procurement competition or any breach of the general principles of EU law.

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