I use perl daily (Activestate 5.8 mostly) for a variety of system administration and configuration management tasks and I use it extensively in ClearQuest and ClearCase (stupid bad rational's perl's) to customize those application's behavior, generating reports and other tasks including some html reports, hooks, triggers.
Having done extracts from Access using perl to load ClearQuest database using the CQ API and WIN32::OLE it didn't seem far fetched to use Access as the database for this. My guess is that we could just as easily use mysql. I'm familiar with Access and it's a quick tool for prototyping the database so that's where I started.
Why perl? I'd like to continue to extend my perl skills (practice makes...er...well anyway...) and I use them whenever I can, I enjoy it. It is unlikely I'll ever be able to become a truly competent perl developer without continuing to exercise it. I'd also rather go with the devil...er..language I know rather than the language I don't know (ie. VB.NET).
I'm still trying to identify what the hosting platform is for this project. I personally have access to a linux box (RH9) at home and more XP boxes than are really necessary.
This is a "extra-curricular" project aimed at satisfying a quarterly MBO objective vaguely titled "build the company" or something equally obscure. The company is small and young. A fair questions is do they know what they're doing? Why was this assigned to me? Because I was available and asked for it. If they had to pay a FTE for this it could be many months before they'd get the work done.