...money is, and obviously it is in government work,” he adds. Daniel says he has heard that about 80 firms went after a GSA stimulus contract to design a new courthouse.

With so many bidders vying for the stimulus work and materials prices down from recent peaks, GSA is reaping benefits. The agency says bids on its ARRA projects so far are averaging 8% to 10% below projections. Grunley says that figure is probably conservative and could be as high as 15%. GSA says those favorable bids will enable it to add more “high performance” features to projects on its list and also consider adding more projects to the roster.

GSA also is using some stimulus money to upgrade its own technological tools. Daniel says Beck is on teams shortlisted for a GSA building-information- modeling national indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract and for another ID/IQ contract for laser scanning of existing buildings.

Meanwhile, some legislators and the Associated General Contractors are not happy with the pace of the overall federal stimulus program. House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) says “the highway and transit portion, especially the highway formula funds, are in place and are working as we anticipated, except for a few states.” But, he adds, “I am troubled that there is considerable unevenness in the implementation in non-highway and transit agencies.” Oberstar pointed to Environmental Protection Agency stimulus aid for state revolving funds (SRFs) that finance wastewater-treatment projects. He says he is “very disappointed” that SRFs “are lagging behind our expectations.”

Craig Hooks, an acting EPA assistant administrator, says the agency has obligated more than $5.9 billion of its $7.2 billion in ARRA funds, and that more than $5 billion of the obligations are for clean-water and drinking-water revolving funds. But little of that has turned into projects under construction. Hooks says he has refocused EPA’s staff on providing more assistance to state recipients of the SRF aid in an effort to get more of the money moving into contracts.

(As of July 30)
Location Project Contract Value $ million*
Washington, D.C Commerce Dept. Headquarters 167.5
Austin, Texas Courthouse 106.8
Jackson, Miss. Federal Building 64.9
New York, N.Y. Courthouse (Escalation) 64.0
Indianapolis, Ind. Courthouse 63.6
Andover, Mass. IRS Service Center 61.9
Brooklyn, N.Y. Post Office 58.4
Lakewood, Colo. Federal Building 47.7
Indianapolis, Ind. Federal Building 47.1
Washington, D.C. Federal Building 43.4
San Antonio, Texas Courthouse 37.3
Orlando, Fla. Courthouse/Federal Building 35.0
Birmingham, Ala. Federal Building/Courthouse 32.7
Blaine, Wash. Port Of Entry (Escalation) 26.3
Honolulu, Hawaii Federal Building/Courthouse 22.7
Otay, Calif. Federal Building 16.0
Los Angeles, Calif. Federal Building 13.7
Tampa, Fla. Courthouse (Escalation) 13.6
Chicago, Ill. Federal Building/Post Office 10.5
Fort Snelling, Minn. Federal Building 8.7

“While the construction portion of the stimulus is having an impact, it is far from delivering its full promise and potential,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s chief executive officer. Results of an AGC survey released on July 30 found little difference in hiring and purchasing patterns between companies that are doing stimulus-funded work and companies that are not.

Sandherr cites federal agencies’ “disappointingly slow” pace in distributing ARRA funds, except at the Dept. of Transportation. AGC did find, however, that the stimulus has been more successful in helping firms save existing jobs. It says that of the 190 responding firms winning stimulus-funded work, 60% have saved or retained jobs because of the stimulus.

Sandherr says AGC has urged every federal agency responsible for stimulus-financed construction projects to accelerate their programs and to address the existing shortages of contracting officials responsible for overseeing the distribution of funds.