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MAP-21 Hearings Show Support for Design-Build

by Geoff Corey | April 25, 2013
Congress has started hearings on the implementation of MAP-21, the 2012 reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs.  The first House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit hearing was a progress report from U.S. DOT Modal Administrators, and the second was a progress report from the state and local perspective.  Both hearings revealed support for innovative project delivery methods like design-build.
The 2012 bill passed with bipartisan support, and DBIA was able to convince legislators to add language to the bill listing design-build as an example of an innovative contracting method.  This language increased the chances that design-build projects would receive federal funding.  We are currently working to assure that language is retained or even expanded in the next reauthorization.
At the hearings, both Victor Mendez from the Federal Highway Administration, and Peter Rogoff from the Federal Transit Administration mentioned that shorter project delivery times were priorities for their respective agencies.  Even without specifically mentioning design-build, both had entire sections of their testimony dedicated to the importance of accelerated project delivery methods.  Similarly, Michael Lewis from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recommended implementation of contracting flexibility portions of MAP-21.  These sections allow states to enter into two-phase contracts that include design-build.  He specifically mentioned their “potential to yield substantial benefits in expediting project delivery.” 
Design-build is a process that is proven to have 12% faster construction time, and 33% faster project completion.  It does this while also reducing litigation, change orders and cost growth.  Therefore, such a large focus on expedited project delivery during MAP-21 hearings can only bode well for the future of design-build.

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