As construction officials dig deeper into the many sections and subsections of the new transportation law, they see a variety of detailed provisions that they like and some disappointing omissions.
The Design-Build Institute of America and the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) point to a provision in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) allowing up to 100% federal funding for projects using innovative delivery methods. This includes design-build and construction manager-general contractor procurement and innovative equipment, materials or techniques, such as prefabricated bridge elements and 3D modeling.
The Portland Cement Association (PCA) is pleased to see MAP-21 require states to consider life-cycle costs among factors used to manage transportation assets. PCA also is happy about language calling for a Government Accountability Office study by July 2013 to analyze highway projects' life-cycle costs. PCA CEO and President Brian McCarthy says life-cycle analysis "creates a new model for decision-making that saves taxpayer money over the long-term life of a road."
MAP-21 also creates a Federal Highway Administration program, funded at $24 million over two years, to speed pavement technology implementation and deployment. Jay Hansen, NAPA executive vice president, says, "You're going to get FHWA playing a lead role in getting new pavement technologies out there, both for asphalt and concrete."
The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) praises a section directing the Transportation Dept. to draw up "standard public-private partnership [P3] transaction model contracts" and encourage states to use the documents as templates. ASA Executive Vice President E. Colette Nelson says subs have been concerned about missing payment assurances on P3 projects.
David Bauer, American Road & Transportation Builders Association senior vice president, cites provisions dealing with work-zone safety and making stormwater-management projects eligible for funds in the new Transportation Alternatives program.
On the minus side, industry-backed language lifting states' annual caps on private-activity bonds for water and wastewater projects "was dropped at the last minute, which of course was disappointing to us," says National Utility Contractors Association CEO Bill Hillman. He says NUCA will seek another legislative vehicle for the provision.