The 2006 "Rippers" for Best Agency
Yes, it's the second annual "Ripper" Awards! At least, these are the Awards for the Top Five Agencies. These five awards are the more coveted, as opposed to the Five Worst Awards. That group will be selected in the next few days.
Awards are totally arbitrary, based in part on the quality of Construction Documents, relationships with Suppliers and Contractors, quality of Completed Projects, perceived value of their Patrons, and other totally subjective factors. Awards are limited to those agencies operating in the United States.
Four out of five are repeats from last year. Read below for the agency that may have received its one and only "Ripper".
Once again, the list is entirely subjective and is shown in alphabetical order to avoid having to choose a winner versus an also-ran.
Caltrain: Big success story with the Baby Bullets. Can electrification be far behind? Speaking of big, losing Mr. Darrell Maxey will mean big shoes to fill.
Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH): An agency suggested by an anonymous contributor. Rip checked, sure enough, quality people and relationships amidst the clatter of the Big Apple.
Regional Transportation District (Denver RTD): TRex is opening early and under budget. One nit to pick, once the new LRT is open, RTD has developed a fare structure that even confuses the computers!
Southern California Railroad Authority (Metrolink): A success story in the face of auto-loving Southern California. One of the good guys, Mr. Mike McGinley, has retired. Hopefully, the new guy, Mr. Darrell Maxey, will continue Mike's fine record of quality relationships with employees, contractors, and suppliers.
Trinity Railway Express (TRE): Second year in a row for this agency, which continues to upgrade its trackage and right-of-way in an efficient and effective way. Only question: How can they keep their high service standards at those ridiculously low fares?
Bubbling under these Top Five: Once again, Portland Tri-met is close. Their story is good enough that the soon-to-be under construction Portland area commuter rail took advantage of their expertise and record of quality.
Falling out of the Top Five: Utah Transit Authority. There are rumors about less than up-front bidding during material procurement for the Front Runner Project, Utah's commuter rail effort between Ogden and Salt Lake City. Are these rumors true? Time will tell.
Congrats to the five winners! My wish for you, if you are employed by any of the winning Agencies, is that your Board and your Patrons appreciate what you do.
Of course, comments and observations are welcome.