Bechtel Wins Infrastructure Repair Contract; USAID to Pay California Firm Up to $680 Million to Fix Power, Water, Sewer Systems

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Byline: Jeffrey Sparshott, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Bechtel Corp. yesterday won a U.S. government contract to repair Iraq's power, water and sewer systems, a deal that will pay as much as $680 million to the San Francisco-based firm.

The U.S. Agency for International Development announced the award for emergency capital construction, one of eight Iraqi reconstruction contracts that could total as much as $1.7 billion for U.S.-based companies.

"The capital construction contract is part of U.S. AID's planned reconstruction assistance to the Iraqi people, aimed at helping maintain stability, ensure the delivery of essential services, and facilitate economic recovery," the agency said in a statement announcing the award.

The contract calls for Bechtel, a privately owned engineering and construction firm, to assess and repair power-generation facilities, electrical grids, municipal water systems and sewage systems, USAID said.

The firm also may repair airports and the Umm Qasr seaport, reconstruct hospitals, schools, some government buildings and major irrigation structures, and restore transport links, USAID said.

The capital-construction award is the fifth - and biggest - of the eight contracts announced by USAID.

"We will now begin meeting with USAID to start detailed planning on this important effort," said Tom Hash, president of Bechtel National, part of the Bechtel Group.

The initial award to Bechtel is $34.6 million but, pending availability of funding, the contract provides up to $680 million over 18 months, USAID said.

Bechtel is a family owned firm with about 47,000 employees. The company's Web site said it booked $12.7 billion in new business and worked off $11. …