Jennifer L. Dorn, FTA's administrator, notes that the agency has about 125 projects in the pipeline, with a total cost of $87 billion. The firms, which were selected from about 35 contenders, will "serve as an extra pair of eyes" for the agency, she says. "We are enthusiastic about the collective experience that we will now have at our disposal."

Jennifer L. Dorn
(Photo courtesy of FTA)

Each will be assigned to multiple projects and be responsible for monitoring whether the work is holding to schedule and budget. They also will provide technical assistance. Dorn says selection criteria included "broad and deep experience in...the magnitude of capital infrastructure" and "diverse experience across projects and cities."

The group of awards represents the fourth cycle of contracts for the project management oversight program. "We're making some changes in the program," Dorn says. "We're moving beyond the monitoring kind of approach. We're seeking to be more proactive in terms of the technical assistance piece."

More specifically, she says, the firms will be engaged in "trend analyses" and focus more on factors such as environmental reviews, environmental mitigation and real estate acquisition that have proved to be "cost drivers" for major projects.

Dorn says that most FTA-funded projects have been completed on time and within their budgets. But there have been a couple of exceptions. In 2002, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta temporarily withheld funds from Seattle's light rail project, whose cost estimate had climbed by $1.7 billion or more than 60%. That project has since been reconfigured.

The firms chosen and the locations of the offices to be involved in the program are:

  • Booz, Allen & Hamilton Inc. McLean, Va.
  • Carter & Burgess, Washington, D.C.
  • David Evans and Associates Inc., Portland, Ore.
  • Earth Tech, Baltimore
  • Fluor Daniel, Greenville S.C.
  • Gannett Fleming, San Francisco
  • Heery International, Landover, Md.
  • Hill International Inc., Marlton, N.J.
  • Jacobs, St. Louis
  • KJM and Associates, Bellevue, Wash.
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc. Herndon, Va.
  • Parsons Transportation Group, San Francisco
  • PGH Wong Engineering Inc., San Francisco
  • Stone & Webster Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J.
  • STV Group Inc., New York City
  • Urban Engineers Inc., Philadelphia

FTA notes that KJM and Associates is the first woman-owned firm to be picked for the oversight program

he Federal Transit Administration has awarded contracts to 17 engineering firms to oversee major capital projects, including new starts and rail modernization work. The contracts, announced March 20, could total up to $300 million over five years, the agency says. They constitute the fourth cycle of the program.