By LSN Partners on October 21, 2022
Last week the White House released the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Accelerating Infrastructure and hosted the White House Accelerating Infrastructure Summit. This plan describes how the Biden Administration will work with local stakeholders to complete infrastructure projects “on time, on task, and on budget.” These steps are a follow-up to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which established record levels of funding for major projects across the country.
The actions outlined in the plan are designed to help state and city stakeholders avoid pitfalls that commonly slow infrastructure projects, like inefficient permitting processes, poor coordination, a lack of resources and capacity, and cost and schedule overruns. In addition, it provides various resources which will be advantageous to public and private entities.
First, to deliver projects “on time,” the Federal Highway Administration will expand its “Every Day Counts” program. Every Day Counts is a partnership between FHWA and state departments of transportation that identifies and rapidly deploys proven yet underutilized innovations in transportation. While Every Day Counts has focused on highways, the upcoming round will expand to support innovation in rail and transit projects.
Additionally, the DOT will launch a Project Delivery Center of Excellence that develops and distributes templates and model language for transportation construction contracts. This will simplify the contracting process by providing less experienced grant recipients with an off-the-shelf model for ensuring quality design and construction contracts.
To ensure projects remain “on task,” the DOT Project Delivery Center will provide equitable access to grants and technical assistance for recipients. In addition, DOT has already launched the DOT Navigator, which helps communities understand the grantmaking process and match their needs with technical assistance resources across DOT.
Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture recently launched a new pilot program to provide technical support to rural communities facing wastewater infrastructure gaps. The initiative will be piloted in 11 locations that have demonstrated significant need.
Lastly, to ensure projects remain “on budget,” the plan emphasizes the importance of getting the pre-implementation phase right, as resolving issues earlier prevents later – and more expensive – disruptions. To aid local stakeholders in this effort, the DOT Project Delivery Center will convene a group of stakeholders to identify the root causes of change orders and report to DOT on best practices to minimize their use. Also, the plan highlighted a new simplified procurement process for environmental remediation programs at the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
These Biden Administration actions aim to empower local stakeholders with a toolkit they can use to deliver the major infrastructure upgrades they received funding for in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. We’ll keep a close eye on when these tools become available and how we can leverage them.
You can watch the White House’s Accelerating Infrastructure Summit at this link.