Quick work done by UDOT employees saved millions of project dollars and gave Utah taxpayers an extra transportation bang for the buck.
Crews are hard at work on I-215 near 3500 South
One-time funding, unusual economic circumstances and the option to take advantage of additional federal money converged to create a triple challenge for UDOT Project Development employees: work fast and efficiently to obligate project dollars or miss out on an ideal bidding environment and additional funding opportunities.
Employees met the challenge head on, and Utah’s road users will see the benefit.
Onetime funding: The ARRA program was almost double to UDOT’s regular annual federal program, however no additional staff or resources were used or even available to assist in the additional workload. Additional transparency requirements also added to the workload.
The $213 million in ARRA was first made available in February of 2009 but the projects required an expedited delivery schedule in order to use the funding. The UDOT teams selected, programmed, designed and advertised these projects exceeding the required schedule.
The transparency requirements included monitoring each project at a level not yet experienced at UDOT but the effort ensured accountability as well as increased visibility in government spending.
Economic conditions: UDOT estimates bid prices well in advance of construction. Lower levels of inflation and unpredictably low bid prices for construction contracts meant that fund were balances left on projects. To be used efficiently, these funds were obligated quickly onto additional projects helping meet programming needs and allowing projects to be programmed earlier then were originally anticipated.
Program Finance pro-actively provided information to Project Development and Region Project Management in order to effectively obligate these funds resulting in $100 million additional projects being delivered.
Additional federal distribution: Not all states are as efficient as UDOT. Those states that don’t obligate funds as required by the federal government forfeit money to states that do. To ensure UDOT met its obligation requirements, Project Development Team members developed a specific obligation performance measure that allowed the team and others to monitor the obligation progress and goal.
This action ensured that UDOT qualified for the redistributed funding to the tune of almost $13 million which would have been lost without the collaborative efforts of this team.