Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Delegate urges probe of agency's process on contract


An influential lawmaker has asked the state attorney general's office to investigate whether there had been any "illegal activities" in the Maryland Department of Transportation's handling of a $43 million contract award for van and cab services for the disabled.

Del. Peter Franchot, chairman of the House transportation subcommittee, sent a letter Wednesday to Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. in which he cited evidence that state employees involved in the selection of vendors had improper communications with some of the rival vendors.

Franchot, a Montgomery County Democrat, wants Curran to investigate the procurement process that resulted in the Maryland Transit Administration's decision to recommend the award of the lucrative contract to Laidlaw Transit Services and MV Transportation Inc.

The state Board of Contract Appeals is holding hearings on an appeal by Yellow Transportation Inc., the current contractor, that alleges bias in the contract award process.

Because the attorney general's office is representing the state in that proceeding, Franchot asked that the agency use outside counsel if necessary. The attorney general's office would not comment.

Yesterday's action

LICENSE TAGS: Bills that would have given Maryland drivers two more license plates to choose from died in committee votes yesterday. The House Environmental Matters committee voted down a bill to create "Fear the Turtle" plates that would have raised money for environmental science and athletic department scholarships at the University of Maryland, College Park. The committee also rejected tags that would have commemorated the mountains of Western Maryland. The Motor Vehicle Administration had fought the bills, saying special tags impose an administrative burden.

BEARS: A bill that would have placed a moratorium on the hunting of black bears in Maryland died yesterday in the House Environmental Matters committee. The bill aimed to block the state's first black bear season in 50 years, set for October.

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