Under the Bus
MST files claim against the county for Whispering Oaks plans; feds waver on loan.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Monterey-Salinas Transit is mapping alternate routes in its quest to build a bus maintenance yard anywhere besides the former Fort Ord. And they’re hoping to hang on to every dollar that went into a proposed new headquarters at 7th and Inter-garrison Road in Marina, the would’ve-been site for the Whispering Oaks business park.
MST is seeking $825,000 from the county in a claim filed Aug. 13, six months after the Board of Supervisors rescinded earlier approval of the project in the face of public opposition.
“We don’t feel that the Board of Supervisors acted in a manner that represented the technical merits of our project,” MST CEO Carl Sedoryk says. “[They] acted in a political way.”
Supervisor Fernando Armenta serves on MST’s board, and was the lone supporter standing in the supes’ 4-1 reversal. He thinks the county should give the full amount to MST: “The county led MST along, and we formed this policy marriage, and all of a sudden the county decided to divorce MST.”
The parties hope to resolve the claim in the next month to avoid litigation.
In the $100 million project, county water rights and permitting fees are just a fraction of the cost. MST also spent some $4.5 million in state funds on plans, which Sedoryk hopes will be transferrable to a new site.
He’s also worried about an elusive $33 million loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation. DOT officials say while they accepted MST’s letter of intent, MST never applied for the loan because the project didn’t evolve enough to qualify. The DOT Credit Council would still have to vet the project’s credit-worthiness.
“We did not receive the loan,” Sedoryk says. “But just being invited to complete the loan process was a coup for MST.”