In order to learn more about the bidding firms, I'd asked one firm owner, John Difazio, a few basic questions, about his company. For instance, how many employees do you have. In a July 16 blackberry communique, he wrote that he couldn't speak until after the "preaward process and can get clearance from the NYDOT press agent."
As far a Difazio claiming that he couldn't speak without clearance post-award goes, the DoT's Levine said in July 16 email that the agency hadn't barred him from talking to the media. "No one has told him he can't speak," wrote Levine. "If anyone would have done that, it would have been me, and I didn't. I have to think that he has nothing to gain by speaking to the press. I don't think we've worked with him before, and he may not want to say something that gets our upcoming partnership off on the wrong foot."
It's true that he has nothing to gain by speaking to the press, but this makes factfinding quite difficult for your reporter. None of the other firms I've surveyed have even responded. As a private citizen asking questions about private companies, I'm not making much headway. But different government agencies and trade groups are helping.