St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Court of Appeals has sided with the city of Rochester in a new ruling stemming from a six-year legal fight over the contract to operate the city's public transit system. The appeals court ruling issued today upholds an earlier decision by Winona County Judge Jeff Thompson, who ruled there was no evidence of bias or conspiracy in the bidding process used to award the contract to First Transit in 2012. Prior to that, Rochester City Lines had operated the city's public transit bus system for decades.

Rochester City Lines tried to argue the judge used the wrong legal standard to evaluate its claims. The Minnesota Supreme Court had earlier asked the District Court to examine the company’s claims of bias after dismissing most of its challenges to First Transit winning the contract.

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently overturned another appeals court ruling involving the contract dispute. The appellate court had found evidence of an appearance of bias in the process that resulted in First Transit winning a renewal of its contract for Rochester's public transit system. The ruling issued in June also sent the case back to the Court of Appeals because the Justices found the judges failed to address four alternative arguments for bias that were presented by Rochester City Lines in challenging the second bidding process.

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