Monday, January 30, 2006

Roadbuilding firms that getteth the most from WisDOT giveth the most to Doyle

Playing and paying
Roadbuilding firms that getteth the most from WisDOT giveth the most to Doyle

Nov. 28, 2005 -- The four roadbuilding consulting firms paid the most by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation from 2002 through 2004 also gave the most to Gov. Doyle's campaign fund during the same time, according to a review of records for 26 firms.

The four are are CH2M Hill, HNTB, Earth Tech, and Ayres Associates Inc.

The "get and give" pattern of WisDOT payments and political donations has been a recurring one over the years.

CH2M Hill had the biggest WisDOT payday from 2002 through 2004 -- it hauled in $48.3 million, or an average of $16.1 million a year, records show.

HNTB Corp. was next at the trough, and was paid $31.2 million by WisDOT, an average of $10.4 million per year. Earth Tech took in $28.2 million, or $9.4 million per year; and Ayres Associates Inc. was paid $24.4 million, or $8.1 million annually.

HNTB won the "doling to Doyle" contest by miles, giving him $55,465 over the three years, according to the campaign donation database maintained by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

CH2M Hill gave $6,729 to Doyle, Earth Tech gave $7,600, and Ayres gave $6,125, according to WDC.

Those are the highest amounts among all the firms reviewed.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that representatives from CH2M Hill, HNTB, and Ayres attended a Doyle fundraiser held by WisDOT Deputy Secretary Ruben Anthony Jr. in September. The amounts given at that fund raiser are not yet publicly available and are not included here.

HNTB and CH2M Hill together form Milwaukee Transportation Partners, the joint venture that holds design contracts for the Marquette Interchange reconstruction project.

HNTB has been paid $18.2 million and CH2M Hill has been paid $17.2 million for work under those contracts, according to the WisDOT. The firms, individually, are subcontractors to MTP.

The preliminary design contract and related work orders, as of June, had been amended 63 times, more than doubling their value from $9,999,999.49 to $20,666,752.93.

MTP also will be the lead consultants for engineering and environmental studies for the North-South I-94 reconstruction project.

On June 29, one day before the MTP selection was announced for the I-94 project, CH2M Hill official Patrick Klampe dropped $1,000 on the Doyle campaign, while co-worker Denise O'Brien-Snell kicked in another $500, according to WDC. compared the records of 26 of WisDOT's highest-paid consultants for whom the information was available. The "highest paid" status was determined by the value of open contracts and work orders assigned to each firm late last year.


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