There is one thing all political parties agree on. The U.S. infrastructure needs a major revitalization. The incoming administration has vowed to increase funding for government construction projects to improve our aging infrastructure. But with an increase in funding comes and increased demand for delivery. And with a reported $1 trillion on the line, there’s a lot to gain (and a lot to lose).
Government agencies will need to be prepared to handle these bonds and will need to provide full transparency into a projects status. Often times, bonds won’t be issued until an agency has the tools in place to track and monitor a project, as was the case the Metropolitan Council in Minnesota. In order to maintain eligibility for a $956.9M grant, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) required diligent project management and controls be put in place. The organization needed to meet the FTA’s stringent oversight requirements and frequent evaluations throughout the entire project.
And managing the funds is just one side. These projects are held to quick and hard deadlines for completion to minimize the inconvenience to the public. For example, The Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project (a P3 project) is working to replace 558 bridges in 3 years! There are strict guidelines for design reviews and specific types of required responsiveness. There is a little room for error in managing such projects. Ron Antevy, CEO at e-Builder, recently said in an article on Govtech.com that, “Due to the complexity of this project — requiring the replacement of 558 bridges in short succession and involving a number of outside contracted parties — it was important that PennDot had a project management software that could easily and clearly share updates on where each phase of planning and execution stood, and what needed to be done next.”
All of this also means that any changes orders must be tightly managed. Change orders on a federally funded project can be extremely challenging when stringent deadlines are in place. The government regulations and guidelines often add complexity to who, when and how change orders are processed. Just ask Arlington County, VA. With over 200 capital projects, 150 of those within transportation division alone, the County needed to have a uniform change process that would extend across the entire program to provide transparency to all project members and stakeholders. These processes have different levels of approval baked in, thanks to the use of program management software. These processes then leaves an audit trail which meets the requirements for the grant funding received by the County.