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State Advocacy




Passage of SB 785 culminates the longtime industry effort to standardize design-build laws in California, and it is the eighth bill passed in California in the past year expanding design-build authority. SB 785 streamlines California design-build laws and provides clarity and increased opportunity for project owners and practitioners.
AB 401 recently passed as well. This controversial bill authorizes CalTrans & regional governments to use design-build on up to 10 projects between 2014 and 2024. The controversy stems from provisions included in the bill that require all project inspection services to be performed by CalTrans employees and the design-builder would be required to reimburse the state for prevailing wage enforcement. Critics of the bill feel that the inspection provisions put an undue risk on design-builders that perform the work and that the limit of 10 projects over 10 years unnecessarily limits design-build at a time when owners have indicated a desire to use design-build more extensively.


 2013 Success

  • DBIA had major victories in West Virginia and Arkansas, two states which had State Department of Transportation (DOT) pilot programs with strict limits on the number of allowed design-build projects. The bill passed in West Virginia (SB 553) would eliminate an expiration (or "sunset") and the limitation on the number of design-build projects transforming the pilot program to a permanent program. Up to $50 million per year could go towards design-build projects and any unused portions could be rolled over to another year up to $150 million. Similarly, the Arkansas bill (HB 1702) eliminates the requirement that design-build could only be used on projects in excess of $50 million and ended  limits on the number of design-build projects.
  • In a significant victory for DBIA, North Carolina passed HB 857 authorizing all local governments to use design-build and P3s including QBS (read the press release here). North Carolina has been the epicenter of local Qualification Based Selection (QBS) legislation. Before DBIA helped pass this law, North Carolina local governments had to receive legislative approval on a case-by-case basis to use design-build. The passage of HB 857 makes North Carolina one of the best states to do design-build projects. 
  • Three states - Georgia, Kentucky and Illinois - were states with limited DOT design-build authority, only using design-build on a “low bid” basis. In Georgia’s case, its DOT had been very aggressive in its use of design-build but felt the low bid only option had its limitations. The newly enacted “best value” law, SB 70, will allow GDOT to take its design-build program to the next level, and choose design-build teams based on qualifications. Kentucky and Illinois took a more conservative approach: they introduced legislation calling for pilot programs allowing best value. The Kentucky bill (HB 445) was recently enacted and the Illinois bill is still pending.
  • Indiana passed legislation giving airports authority to use design-build.

 2014 Success

  • In Illinois, we supported efforts to pass SB 492, which extends the State Building Commission’s design-build authority until 2018. We were involved in this effort early and were proud to watch it pass and be signed into law in January.
  • In Utah, we worked to pass SB 190, revising contract types and definitions for rulemaking that made design-build even easier to use.
  • In the state of Washington, we helped pass two significant bills that were both signed by the Governor in March. HB 2555 keeps proposals submitted for design-build projects exempt from public disclosure until the highest scoring finalist has been named or the selection process has been terminated. This is essential to ensuring companies’ bids, methods and advantages remain confidential, increasing the competitiveness of the process. We also helped pass SB 6001 which provides funding for two design-build projects: the I-405 Kirkland Stage 2 widening project and the SR 167 Puyallup Bridge Replacement. The two projects are high-profile in the state, so the fact that the legislation mandates use of design-build is a testament to how reliably design-build delivers high-quality infrastructure. 
  • In Minnesota, we were successful in gaining passage of HB 677, a bill funding a new state legislative office building that specifically calls for using design-build to deliver the project. Following passage, however, there were nearly ten bills calling for new onerous requirements on design-build projects and repeal of HB 677. Thus far, we have worked to successfully block all of these bills or have the unnecessary requirements stripped out of the bill.


  • The Kentucky legislature passed a bill overwhelmingly that would authorize all state agencies to use design-build and P3s. Unfortunately, the Governor disagreed with a portion of the bill unrelated to design-build, and vetoed it. The bill initially passed with veto-proof majorities so DBIA is watching to see if the legislature is willing to override the veto
  • Connecticut is considering legislation that would make their design-build transportation pilot program permanent, even though that pilot program is relatively new.
  • DBIA is reaching out to owners in Massachusetts to discuss the benefits of design-build in anticipation of a transportation funding bill passing. There is a real opportunity here since some Massachusetts DOT owners have attended DBIA Conferences and workshops in the past.
  • In New York State, design-build authority for multiple state agencies, including NYDOT, expires at the end of 2014. We are visiting the state and hoping to have legislation passed by the end of the year. This is a high-priority state, and you can read our blog post on recent developments here.
  • In Virginia, HB 549 would make design-build even easier to use by broadening the factors that could be considered under Virginia competitive negotiation statute and easing the restrictions on using competitive negotiation. DBIA is in contact with key players in Virginia transportation policy and is watching this bill closely.




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