GULFPORT -- The state port's governing commission sent W.C. "Cotton" Fore a letter Thursday regarding his protest over losing a $44 million contract even though he was the low bidder.
Fore claimed last week during a hearing on his protest he did not have to submit certificates of responsibility for two subcontractors until the contract was awarded. But the letter says the certificates were to be submitted with his bid, which port staff made clear at a pre-bid meeting for contractors. The letter went to Fore and his attorney.
Port commissioners hope to have a response Monday from Fore, then make a final decision on the West Pier construction contract at their regular meeting March 24.
W.C. Fore Trucking Co. submitted a bid of $43,985,611, which was $126,766 lower than the winning bid from Necaise Bros. Construction Co.
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The winning contractor will elevate the east side of the West Pier to 14 feet -- the elevation reached on the west side -- and install rail lines and water, sewer, drainage and electrical systems.
The work is supposed to be finished in June 2017. Commission Chairman E.J. Roberts said after Thursday's meeting: "It's critical that we get the project moving as soon as possible. The sooner the project gets completed, the sooner we can bring in additional tenants."
Roberts said the commission wants as soon as possible to create jobs, a mandate that came with $570 million in federal funding for post-Katrina restoration and expansion of the West Pier.