The Commercial Court is due to hear the first of two challenges to a €400 million motorway tolling contract awarded by National Roads Authority on Tuesday.
US group Transcore and French company Emovis both want the court to set aside a contract worth €200 million-€400 million to provide automated tolling for the M50 motorway around Dublin.
The authority, now called Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), gave the contract to a group called Turas, made up of Vinci Concessions, part of French engineering giant Vinci and customer service group Abtran.
Transcore’s claim is listed for a three-day full hearing in the Commercial Court. Emovis’s case is likely to go ahead early next year.
The US company is arguing that TII failed to comply with EU regulations governing how State organisations are meant to award contracts. Emovis is making a similar argument.
Transcore’s statement of claim says that TII “misdirected itself in law” and made an error in the way in which it evaluated the successful bid because it had concerns about the resources that Turas was prepared to commit to doing the work involved.
As a result, Transcore maintains, the State body should have awarded Turas fewer marks under certain criteria when it was weighing the group’s tender.
Transcore spent more than €370,000 on its bid, which failed only by a slender margin. TII told the US company in February that it had scored a total of 796 points and Turas had achieved 802.
The US company wants the court to set aside the original contract award to Turas and instead to order TII to hire it to operate the motorway toll contract.
Transcore maintains almost half the highway toll lanes in the US. It develops tolling systems for governments and private companies around the world.
The company is part of Roper Technologies, a New York-listed company that earned more than €3.5 billion last year.