"There are a lot of efforts underway to educate lawmakers and the general public on infrastructure's importance and benefits that we hope will eventually lead to infrastructure expansion," O'Grady says.

Texas is distinguished by more than just a positive environment for transportation funding, says Carlos Lopez, an HNTB vice president who heads firm offices in the state's southern and central regions.

"In addition to many urban and rural needs, there are also different administrative agencies, from TxDOT to regional mobility authorities, toll road authorities and transit and aviation agencies," Lopez explains. "They all want successful projects, but they each have their own paths to getting there."

John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director, is pleased to have a general engineering consultant that can handle the "heavy lifting" for the agency's strategic project delivery program, given the increasing reliance on public- and private-sector partnerships to tackle major design and construction initiatives.

"We need private partners that have the resources to make things possible in a timely manner as well as the ability to bring creative and innovative solutions," Barton says. "We never worry about HNTB's team because they've proven they can handle it."

HNTB is serving as owner's representative and general engineering consultant on the new $700-million Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi, Texas. HNTB assisted TxDOT in securing the complex design-build-maintain procurement method necessary "to make this beautiful iconic bridge a reality in a way that makes the most of TxDOT's resources," Lopez says.

Barton also credits HNTB's passion for sound construction management for moving work along in an effective and efficient manner.

"They're teaching all of us how to get things done," he says.

Keeping Pace With Priorities

Louisiana may be smaller than Texas in size and population, but it nonetheless faces a multibillion-dollar backlog of transportation needs. In some respects, those needs are even more complex than those of Texas, says Gen. John Basilica Jr. (Ret.), HNTB vice president and Gulf Coast district leader.