View Full Version : Taxi boat proposals higher than expected

11-07-2006, 07:52 AM

By Bryan Dean
The Oklahoman

Proposed costs for taxi boats on the Oklahoma River are nearly double the amount city officials had hoped for, prompting some to worry whether the boats will be ready next year for the state's centennial.
The cheapest of the three proposals submitted was for $1.4 million for each boat.

Former Mayor Ron Norick, who heads the city's river trust, said there is no way the city can afford that.

"They need to be somewhere in the $800,000 to $900,000 range per boat," Norick said. "I would hope we could get them under that."

Norick echoed complaints made in September by Bob Bekoff, owner of Water Taxi Inc., which runs the boats on the Bricktown Canal.

Bekoff had planned to submit a boat proposal that would have been within the city's budget but pulled his company out of the river taxi project, saying the request for proposals was too specific and was botched by a consultant.

The city hired Triad Design Group to help draft the proposal. Triad retained Art Anderson Associates, a Washington-based naval engineering firm, to help draft specifications for the 50-passenger boats.

Norick said the specifications should have given general guidelines that would have allowed for a range of designs.

"I think it was way too complicated, and there were way too many restrictions as to what they could or couldn't do," Norick said. "It almost asked them to use a certain size screw or a certain size chair."

Norick said the proposal was so detailed it precluded companies from submitting designs for boats they already build, driving up the cost.

"There are water taxis all over the world that have been built for years by a variety of companies," Norick said. "We certainly don't need a whole new boat created for us."

Don Douglas, partner in Triad Design, said he doesn't believe the proposal was too specific, but it is complicated by federal guidelines.

The city has been approved for $2.25 million in federal transportation money and is asking for another $1 million.

"We have to stay within the federal process or we could jeopardize our funding," Douglas said. "This is the process. This is what we're stuck with."

City officials will visit next week the two companies that submitted the lowest bids, Scarano Boatbuilding Inc. of Albany, N.Y., and Allen Marine of Sitka, Alaska.

Oklahoma City Transit Director Rick Cain said the group will tour the companies and work with them to find out whether their prices can come down. Cain said the city could consider settling for a boat with a smaller engine or one that holds fewer people if it would make the project affordable.

Norick said he will get the problems solved but is worried about the timeline. He promised the city will get a boat in the water within its budget.

"I think it's very important that we can have those boats operational sometime during our centennial year," Norick said. "I think we can still make the deadline if we'll go to a standard boat and not something that has to be designed, engineered and built."

"There are water taxis all over the world that have been built for years by a variety of companies. We certainly don't need a whole new boat created for us."Former Mayor Ron Norick, who heads the city's river trust

11-07-2006, 11:57 PM
agree with norick

11-08-2006, 12:02 AM
Bob Bekoff pulled out because there were so many federal requirements, what we get for using federal money. But you can't shake a stick at a more effective tourist idea for under $2 million...

11-08-2006, 12:11 AM
hey there are not alot of boat operators for middle america dont you agree....not saying everything is right just making a point....

on a lighter note what about the saw trilogy...with a fourth coming