Caterpillar appeals contract loss for Illinois high-speed train

Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:43pm EDT

The Caterpillar Visitors Center is seen in Peoria, Illinois, November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

The Caterpillar Visitors Center is seen in Peoria, Illinois, November 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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(Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) said on Monday it had filed formal complaints challenging a decision by its home state of Illinois to award an important locomotive contract for a high-speed rail project to its rivals.

In late 2013, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) awarded a $226 million contract to build up to 35 high-performance diesel-electric locomotives to a partnership formed by Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE) and Cummins Inc (CMI.N).

IDOT's decision was bigger than the dollar figure might suggest because the agency is leading a multistate locomotive procurement task force and its decisions are likely to influence the choices that other key states - including California, Michigan, Washington, and Missouri - ultimately make.

In February, Caterpillar filed a formal protest with IDOT, but it was denied.

In a statement released on Monday, the company said it had taken the protest to the next stage by filing formal complaints with the state's Procurement Policy Board as well as the Chancery Court in Cook County, Illinois.

Caterpillar said it believed that IDOT "unfairly evaluated and scored offers and improperly relaxed the specified performance requirements when making its selection."

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a voicemail or e-mail seeking comment.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher in Chicago, editing by G Crosse)

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