Accelerating Infrastructure Summit focuses on “On-time, On-task and On-Budget”

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined officials from other government agencies and transportation organizations on a panel to discuss the impact of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the current focus on being “On-time, On-task, and On-budget.”

The panel was part of the White House’s Accelerating Infrastructure Summit in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Buttigieg joined Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan; Executive Director of Transportation Research Board Neil Pedersen, P.E.; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael L. Connor; American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., and several others. The summit highlighted ways collaborative partnerships between government, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations can deliver infrastructure on time and on budget.

During the summit, the White House announced new efforts and an Action Plan to accelerate the rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure. That plan includes an expansion of the Federal Highway Administration’s “Every Day Counts” program to include all types of surface transportation in its goal to identify and deploy underutilized but successful innovations in transportation construction. Additionally, the administration said, the plan included a commitment from the America Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to educate on ways to deliver construction projects faster; and a commitment from the Department of the Interior’s National Park Services (NPS) Construction Center of Excellence to develop and distribute electronic Project Management Manuals to ensure its infrastructure projects are managed to consistent principles, among other things.

Already, the move to accelerate projects is being seen in states, the White House said. In Arizona and Michigan, public-facing dashboards on infrastructure projects help foster collaboration and interagency coordination, the administration said, while innovative procurement methods in California help to speed up project delivery.

As part of the focus on being on budget, the White House said it would work with the Office of Management and Budget to bring together world-leading experts on infrastructure project delivery to identify recommendations on how to lower the cost of infrastructure delivery. Additionally, the US DOT’s Project Delivery Center of Excellence would work with AASHTO, ASCE, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the American Public Transportation Association, and other groups to identify root causes of change orders and construction overruns and report back on best practices to minimize their use.

In Louisiana, where Wilson also serves as the Department of Transportation and Development, funding for infrastructure projects reaches into the billions. As part of the BIL, Louisiana has received $4.8 billion for highways, over $1 billion for bridges, $470 million for public transportation, $73 million for electric vehicle infrastructure, $179 million for airports, and $20 million to build a more resilient transportation system.

Wilson said the funding would advance much-needed projects throughout the state.

“It is an honor to be asked to speak at the White House where I can represent the state of Louisiana, DOTD, and AASHTO, among other national transportation leaders, to discuss accelerating infrastructure,” said Wilson. “We have worked hard as an agency to be in the forefront of our industry, nationally and in state. We recognize the transformational moment where we find ourselves. I commend the Biden-Harris administration for seeing the challenges each state faces and following through with their real and meaningful resources through the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”