TEMPORARY HELP FOR THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND – BUT THE FUTURE IS STILL UNCERTAIN

As nearly every media outlet in America has reported, the Congress last night approved a $10.8 billion transportation bill that will pay for highway and transit projects for the next nine months.  It’s good news, sure.  In practical terms, it means that transportation funding will continue to flow past today’s deadline.  That matters to anyone interested in a project that is funded with Federal monies, and in Massachusetts,… More

Transportation Revenue for Massachusetts – A Reward for Ten Years of Reform

Labor Day weekend marks the end of what for some will be remembered as the summer that brought net new revenue to the Commonwealth’s transportation system.  Others see it as the logical end of the reform effort.  Still others will focus on the begining of a new phase of transportation debate – with the rivarlies and lack of funding put aside (for now), let’s discuss what gets fixed and what gets built and why.  … More

Will New Sales Taxes on Computer Services Boost Massachusetts Transportation Financing?

After months of debate, a veto, and an override, Massachusetts now has a blueprint for financing one of the largest overhauls of the state’s transportation infrastructure in decades.  The controversy over Chapter 46 wasn’t whether additional transportation financing was necessary – all sides agreed that it was.  The sticking point was instead a) how much, and b) from whom.

As our colleagues Nicola Lemay, Earl Mellott,… More

Alternative Delivery Rising?

A rising tide lifts all boats, but will it also cause owners to jump ship from their favorite project delivery methods?  That’s the premise of a recent ENR article on the alternative delivery market.

Traditional hard-bid, design-bid-build contracting became difficult to resist for many owners during the Great Recession, when hungry firms submitted low bids to keep busy.  The alternative delivery market fell sharply as a result,… More

P3 Commission Should Be Active!

While we wait for the legislature and the Governor to resolve the outstanding final issues surrounding the financial rescue package for transportation, one thing is clear: even with the most optimistic projections for new funding levels for the transportation system (as provided in the Senate version and reaching up to $800 million per year), the need for additional revenues, new sources of revenue and new ways of infusing private innovation into the transportation system will all be critical. … More

Our Highway Trust Fund Issues Aren’t Going Away

Last summer, we celebrated the passage of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which was good progress, particularly at a time when it is hard to reach any consensus in Washington.  At the time MAP-21 was passed, several commented that it was not providing the funds many believed were necessary to get our economy going and to fix the condition of the nation’s infrastructure. … More

IPD and Integrated Technology Delivery

For years, owners and construction service providers have been hearing about the benefits of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).  The underlying premise of IPD is that all of the key participants in a project – owner, designer, construction manager and leading trade partners – stand to benefit from increased collaboration.  There are many tools available to encourage collaboration, such as co-location of team members, use of “lean” construction techniques to reduce waste,… More

When is a Park not a Park? The SJC Declines to Give Broad Interpretation to Article 97

Earlier this month, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued its decision in Mahajan v. DEP, holding that the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s (BRA) proposed redevelopment of Long Wharf in Boston is not subject to Article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution.   Among other things, Article 97 protects park lands from being disposed of or used for other purposes, absent a supermajority vote from both branches of the Legislature.… More

Lessons Learned: The ASCE Report Card and Smart Infrastructure Improvements in Massachusetts

Earlier this week, the American Society of Civil Engineers released its quadrennial Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, and the message for 2013 was undeniable: “Needs Improvement.”

The Report Card gave the nation’s infrastructure a D+ overall (although in a potential silver lining, ASCE did note that this was an improvement from the 2009 grade of a solid D).  ASCE estimates that the United States needs $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next seven years to bring its transportation,… More

All Politics is Local: Governor Patrick Files $19 Billion Transportation Bond Bill

On March 13, 2013, Governor Patrick filed his comprehensive transportation bond legislation, proposing $19 billion in investments over the next ten years.  This bond bill offers the first specific numbers for funding the policy proposals outlined in the MassDOT strategic plan released in January. 

In the bill, the Governor proposes $4.6 billion for highway maintenance and construction, $4.4 billion for regional rail,… More