Where to go from here

“We need to begin work immediately on a long-term authorization that builds on the strengths of MAP-21 and provides a sustainable revenue source to avert a looming funding shortfall,” says Treadway.

John Davis agrees, saying funding the next highway bill should be pursued “as aggressively as possible.”

The APWA and National Association of County Engineers are asking that the next highway bill:

  • Exempt small projects from federal requirements provided state and local requirements are met, and
  • Restrict the Buy America requirement only to a project’s construction phase.

In the meantime, educate and inform residents and elected officials about the critical need for revenue to fix aging local infrastructure. “Make it a personal mission by making sure folks are as informed as they can be,” says Kathleen Davis.

Moving ahead in the 21st century continues to mean doing more while working with less. As owners of half the nation’s bridges and three-quarters of its roads, local public works departments have a lot at stake. You need to not only fight on for funding, but for common sense policies that truly move America forward.

Michael Porcaro is an Illinois-based free-lance writer who has more than three decades of experience in road construction. E-mail mporcaro@contentforbiz.com.

More help for the federal-aid process

Before the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) became law, FHWA worked with the American Public Works Association (APWA) and the National Association of County Engineers (NACE) on plans for implementing the federal agency’s follow-up to Every Day Counts (EDC): EDC-2.

Both were invited to participate in nationwide summits and peer exchanges. As a result of the input, EDC-2 includes a “Locally Administered Federal-Aid Projects” initiative designed to help local public agencies through the complexities of highway program’s requirements.

A three-pronged strategy encourages state DOTs to implement:

  • certification/qualification programs
  • indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) consultant contracts
  • stakeholder committees.

FHWA also developed free online “Federal-aid Essentials” training videos that include printable resources and links to applicable regulations.

—John Davis is director of engineering services for the City of Denton, Texas. Email John.Davis@cityofdenton.com.