After a 12-month experience rivaling the most hairraising theme-park thrill ride, transportation design firms are finally enjoying a sense of stability, coupled with some optimism about the future. The industry’s biggest influence in recent months has been $40 billion in transportation infrastructure funding from President Obama’s economic stimulus program. Though directed primarily to shovel-ready projects, the stimulus funding is also finding its way to design firms, according to Jim Lyman, chief operating officer for David Evans & Associates, Portland, Ore.
“The stimulus has gotten priority projects moving and freed up money to bring other projects up front,” says Lyman. “Though most projects are generally simple in scope, there are still opportunities for design firms to help get bid documents going and provide construction administration services.”