Lawmakers question black and white licenses

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The DMV recently agreed to allow Canadian based CBN Secure Technologies to print licenses that would be in black and white.

But the bid itself is surrounded by a grey area, because the DMV, while stating it would take the lowest bid, accepted CBN's bid that costs close to $38 million more than the next bid.

For the last 16 years, a company based out of England has produced the licenses for New York State. They also were surprised to hear about the bidding, and said, "We were disappointed to hear the outcome of the bidding process. Our company has filed an appeal with the state and we are hoping to be awarded the contract again after the appeals process is finalized."

The company wasn't the only one surprised.

State Senator George Maziarz said, "It just doesn't make sense. I mean, they're going with the highest bidder instead of the lowest bidder. They're going with a vendor that provides only black and white photographs, which is going backwards."

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger added, "I scratched my head. Being a person of good faith, I just assumed that there was some good explanation. So far, we haven't heard a good explanation."

Assemblyman Schimminger believes the cost deficit could come from taxpayers.

"If it's going to cost that much more to make the licenses than it stands to reason that down the road there could be pressure to increase the price by the end user," she said.

Senator Maziarz says he and Senator Mark Grisanti have both written letters to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapolli asking him to review and reject the the contract.

RELATED | News 4 interviewed Senator Grisanti about this issue. Hear what he had to say

"I can tell you this, and I can tell your viewers this, we are going to get the answers. It is definitely not set in stone. The check is not out the door; we still have time," Senator Maziarz assured.

News 4 spoke with a CBN representative, the would-be winners of the bid, who said the black and white technology is state-of-the-art but wouldn't comment any more until their contract was finalized.

The DMV Commissioner commented, "The two losing bidders were not selected because their products were inferior with respect to document security and anti-tampering measures that are standard for licenses."

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