The Associated General Contractors of California, along with state transportation agencies and industry stakeholders, recently met with Federal Highway (FHWA) Administrator Victor Mendez to discuss the national “Every Day Counts” initiative.
The meeting in Sacramento, hosted by Caltrans Acting Director Malcolm Dougherty, focused on sustainable infrastructure funding and efficient project delivery systems.
The EDC Initiative is designed to reduce delivery time of transportation projects and accelerate technology and innovation deployment. During the meeting AGC requested assistance from the FHWA to partner with environmental and regulatory agencies to facilitate accelerated project delivery.
“The EDC is designed to identify and deploy innovation aimed at shortening project delivery, enhancing the safety of our roadways and protecting the environment,” Mendez said in a statement. “These goals are worth pursuing for their own sake. But in challenging times, it’s imperative we pursue better, faster and smarter ways of doing business.”
The FHWA also advocated for public-private partnerships as it recognized infrastructure improvements could not be met by government funding alone. AGC continues to participate in Caltrans' Implementation Plan of the initiative.
Other components of the initiative include use of design-build, accelerating technology and innovation deployment, use of warm mix asphalt and prefabricated bridge elements and systems, and planning and environmental linkages.
Meanwhile, the AGC of California released a statement on the recently passed House budget resolution and multiyear authorization proposal released by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Mica that will reduce California’s funding by more than $1 billion in fiscal year 2012 and will remain at reduced federal funding levels in subsequent years.
“With the compounding factors, California stands to lose 43,000 jobs annually and $7.6 billion in cuts over the next five years – the ripple effect will be catastrophic,” said Tom Holsman, AGC’s CEO, in a statement. “This will affect state matching funds, which will also be cut. At a time when our industry is facing over 20% unemployment, it is difficult to understand the apparent disregard of fully funding the infrastructure needs of our country.”
California construction employment has decreased by 379,000 (40%) since February 2006, said the AGC. With California’s budget problems, state and local construction are extremely reliant on the $4 billion the industry receives annually in highway and transit funds through the federal program.
“The ramifications are significant. Additional investment in the nation’s aging infrastructure is necessary,” said Holsman. “In these difficult economic times the federal cuts will lead to devastating and long term job loss.