Federal Funding Boosts Construction

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration announced massive funding projects to improve our nation’s infrastructure as part of the new MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, and Highways for LIFE grants.

President Obama signed MAP-21 into law on July 2, 2012 making it the first long-term highway authorization that has been enacted since 2005 and will fund surface transportation programs at more than $105 billion in 2013 and 2014. The FHA’s website says, “By transforming the policy and programmatic framework for investments to guide the system’s growth and development, MAP-21 creates a streamlined and performance-based surface transportation program and builds on many of the highway, transit, bike, and pedestrian programs and policies established in 1991.”

Under MAP-21, each state has received millions of dollars in funding for the following programs: National Highway Performance Program, Surface Transportation Program, Highway Safety Improvement Program, Railway Highway Crossings Program, CMAQ Program and Metropolitan Planning.

Under the Highways for LIFE grants, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood awarded more than $16 million to 14 projects in 13 states and the District of Columbia. “The money invested today benefits not only these projects, but adds to the pool of knowledge and new technologies available for safer, more efficient transportation projects around the country,” says LaHood.

The grants are meant to “encourage the use of innovative technologies and practices on America’s roads and bridges, such as accelerated bridge construction, cutting-edge building materials and advanced methods for construction project management.

The grants were given to the following: Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Vermont.

What It Means For You

With more money being poured into the states for highway and road improvement, construction projects should increase. Whether you have the equipment to help with the paving projects or the equipment to help with construction sweeping, you will want to get in touch with the decision-makers that award these projects in your area. Most construction projects are required to keep debris off the roads leading to and from the construction site. These construction managers typically hire a sweeper to sweep the affected road unless they already own one.

If you have the knowledge to sweep, but haven’t branched out into buying a heavy-duty sweeper, then don’t fret. There are distributors that will rent the sweepers. If you are serious about branching into construction sweeping, then you may want to look at funding. There are several resources out there that have funding set up for sweepers, or you can check with your lending institution.

If you are new to the construction business, subcontracting may be an easier way for you to get your foot in the door. Knowing what projects are being funded where can help you narrow down your search. If the projects have already been awarded to local contractors, then it is usually on file as a matter of public record. You should be able to obtain the information by giving your local department of transportation a call, or by checking their website.

State by State Allocations

FHA has announced the funding for specific improvement projects for various states. This is not a comprehensive list of projects, but gives you an idea of what is going on around the nation. Check with your local department of transportation for more information.

Alabama: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $2 million was awarded to improve traffic operations and management at intersections along US-280 in the cities of Birmingham, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills and Hoover in Jefferson and Shelby Counties. “By integrating newly installed adaptive signal control technology and traditional strategies into an overall system approach using the existing roadway, the Alabama Department of Transportation will reduce highway congestion in a critical corridor of the state.”

California: New U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a $421 million loan to expand SR 91 to increase the capacity of the corridor and ease congestion on the Riverside County side of the highway. “This project is a job creator that will improve mobility in the region and better connect Orange and Riverside counties.”

Colorado: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $2 million was awarded for bridge replacement work in Aurora at I-70 over Smith Road and the Union Pacific railroad. “The project, the nation’s first to use a geosynthetic reinforced soil system for a multi-span bridge on an interstate, will reduce construction-related congestion with accelerated bridge construction.”

District of Columbia: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $104,000 was awarded to replace the 27th street, NW bridge over Broad Branch Stream. “The project will use accelerated bridge construction innovations to simplify construction and reduce future maintenance costs.”

A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $3 million was awarded to resurface Honolulu’s Middle Street. “Hawaii’s Department of Transportation will resurface the street with Portland Concrete Cement (PCC) pavement that uses post-tensioned, precast concrete and cast-in-place PCC pavements to minimize inconvenience to users, while providing a durable, long-lasting surface.”

Illinois: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $880,000 was awarded to Knox County Highway Department for alignments near Galesburg. “The project will use three-dimensional modeling technology to complete construction faster. The technology is also expected to provide significant cost savings, reduce lane closures and increase safety for construction workers.”

Indiana: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $2 million was awarded for the I-465/I-65 South Interchange paving project in Indianapolis. “The project will use cutting-edge concrete surface technology to create a quieter and more skid-resistant highway surface.”

Under MAP-21, Secretary LaHood increased the federally-funded share for the U.S. 31 Hamilton County Improvement Project in Indiana to 90 percent, which represents an approximate $23 million increase.

Iowa: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $400,000 was awarded for the I-92 Cass County Bridge construction. “The project, located in southwestern Iowa, will use prefabricated bridge elements, which will allow the new bridge to be built near the existing bridge and then moved into position by a lateral slide. These innovations are expected to significantly reduce the amount of time the highway is closed and will mark the first time a lateral bridge slide is used in the state.”

A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $120,000 was awarded for the KY70 Bridge over Stoner Creek in Taylor County. “The project will use hybrid composite beams for the replacement bridge to accelerate construction, decrease the impact to the traveling public and improve safety.”

Louisiana: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $376,572 was awarded for the reconstruction of the Maree Michael and Creek Bridges in Vermilion Parish. “Louisiana will use a number of accelerated bridge construction innovations to reduce construction time and project and maintenance costs.”

Missouri: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $150,000 was awarded for the application of High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST) on Highways 54 and 79 in Jefferson City and two sites on I-44 near Rolla. “Use of HFST at the sites will enhance safety, while minimizing work zone delays and alleviating congestion.”

Nevada: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $1.2 million was awarded for the I-80 Carlin Tunnels project east of Carlin. “The project will use an innovative construction management program to install a new lighting system for the tunnels.”

A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $718,000 was awarded for the SH-51 over Cottonwood Creek Bridge replacement near Mannford. “Oklahoma will use state-of-the-art bridge moving technology and other innovations to replace a structurally deficient bridge sooner than previously possible.”

Tennessee: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $1,445,600 was awarded for asphalt pavement resurfacing along State Route 331 in Knox County, State Route 58 in Hamilton County, US 64 (State Route 15) in Lincoln County, and US 412 (State Route 20) in Crockett County. “The project will use intelligent compaction technology at four geographically diverse locations…to improve overall pavement density and reduce highway repair costs.”

Vermont: A LIFE FY 2013 grant for $1.9 million was awarded for Route 107 reclamation in Stockbridge and Bethel. “Vermont will use three-dimensional modeling, intelligent compaction technology, and Global Positioning System to reduce congestion and enhance safety, quality and road-user satisfaction.”

Remember that women-owned and minority-owned businesses have a great chance of getting government contracts. If your business doesn’t fall into that category, don’t lose heart. You should still apply. Remember that building relationships and being friendly and helpful can go along way. And, sometimes, it’s just being in the right place at the right time.

Story by Jennifer Taylor


General funding under MAP-21 can be found at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/table2014.cfm.

U.S. Small Business Administration’s Government Contract helper: http://www.sba.gov/size-standards-tool and http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/contracting/doing-business-with-government