The Feb. 27 Pinky Kravitz column, "Pacific Ave. paving still months off," regarding the long-overdue Pacific Avenue paving project, suggested improprieties and inept employees at the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority as reasons for the project's lengthy delay. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify our actions.

We have, to date, issued two separate requests for proposals for this process, both of which we rejected. The first solicitation yielded three bids, but all had material defects, and, after close examination, we determined that by law we were forbidden from accepting the bids. The second RFP resulted in one bid, which was substantially above the engineer's estimate. Again, by law, we could not award the contract.

The CRDA is as anxious as anyone to begin milling and repaving Pacific Avenue. However, we must ensure that we maintain strict compliance with the bidding process required of state agencies by the state of New Jersey.

After a good deal of thought and discussion, we have been able to adjust the RFP to attract bids that are within the budget limits. By purchasing some of the materials ourselves through other existing budget mechanisms, the cost to the contractor is lower.

This new RFP will go out this week for bids. Should we receive satisfactory bids, we hope to award the contract at our April board meeting, and work could begin as early as mid-May. The terms of the contract will require all work to be completed by the end of the year, and work will be staged to create as little inconvenience as possible to Atlantic City's visitors, employees and residents.

Be assured, CRDA is acting prudently, complying with the law, and keeping our visitors' experience in mind as we proceed.

JOHN PALMIERI

Executive Director

Casino Reinvestment

Development Authority

Atlantic City