Much has been made of the importance of shovel-ready projects as state and local governments prepare to spend the $27.5 billion allocated for highway, bridge and transportation improvements made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). While the feds indicate that they'll be likely to favor shovel-ready construction, the reality about how funding is allocated is a bit more complicated. It is these complicating factors that will increase opportunities for agencies and their clients to acquire new business.
Some of the federal funding will be allocated based on various per-capita spending formulas. In addition, specified amounts target road improvements on Indian Reservations and parkways. Set-asides are being made for disadvantaged businesses as well as for projects in rural areas. Priority will also be given to projects that propose use of intelligent transportation systems. This includes improved signal control, dynamic messaging signs, and toll taking.
And even shovel-ready projects must be put out to bid. Whether you're working with construction contractors that need to prepare bid materials or signal equipment manufacturers that want their products considered during project reviews, the increased spending on our highway infrastructure could be the road to more business for your agency. Review the National Conference of State Legislatures report here.[Source: Beyond Highway Construction, National Conference of State Legislatures, Spring 2009]