§ 1197. Awarding charter on bids
(a) Highest bid
The Secretary of Transportation shall award the charter to the bidder proposing to pay the highest monthly charter hire unless the Secretary of Transportation shall reject such bid for the reasons set forth in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) Rejection of highest bid
The Secretary of Transportation may reject the highest or most advantageous or any other bid, if, in the Secretary’s discretion, the charter hire offered is deemed too low, or the Secretary of Transportation determines that the bidder lacks sufficient capital, credit, or experience to operate successfully the line; but the reason or reasons for rejection of any bid, upon request of the bidder, shall be stated to such bidder in writing.
(c) Next highest bid; rejection of all bids and readvertisement
If the highest bid is rejected, the Secretary of Transportation may award the charter to the next highest bidder, or may reject all bids and readvertise the line: Provided, however, That the Secretary of Transportation may operate the line until conditions appear to be more favorable for a reoffering of the line for private charter.