Spherix Inc. of Beltsville, Md., recently filed a protest against the Agriculture Department’s re-award of its single federal recreation information and reservation service to ReserveAmerica of Ballston Spa, N.Y., according to a report in Government Computer News.
The Forest Service awarded the $97 million National Recreation Reservation System contract last month to ReserveAmerica, a subsidiary of Ticketmaster, for the second time.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) last December supported Spherix’s first protest of the agency’s initial award to ReserveAmerica and recommended that Agriculture recompete the contract.
In the latest protest by Spherix, the company claimed a variety of flaws in the procurement, including “failure to conduct adequate discussions, improper evaluations of the vendor’s offers and failure to justify its choice of the substantially higher cost of ReserveAmerica’s proposal,” according to Spherix spokeswoman Kathy Brailer.
The contract base period is 3 1/2 years, with options for up to 10 years and a total potential value of $97 million.
ReserveAmerica’s chief operating officer Brendan Ross said, “The fact that the USDA Forest Service awarded its NRRS contract to ReserveAmerica speaks for itself.”
The reservation service will offer centralized information for more than 57,000 campgrounds, cabins and parks, as well as tours of national sites, historic homes and caves, through a single portal at www.recreation.gov, part of President Bush’s Recreation One-Stop e-government initiative. The website is expected to be operational in December.
The contract will consolidate and expand the existing federal reservation service, now operated by ReserveAmerica, and offer one-stop shopping to the public for a wide range of federal recreation areas and facilities, including the National Park sites currently serviced by Spherix under its ongoing contract with the Interior Department.
The Agriculture Department must respond to GAO by Aug. 12. GAO said it will rule on the protest by Oct. 20
Besides the Forest Service, participating agencies include the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers.