‘It’s not business as usual’

|  February 18, 2009 |

When infrastructure projects break ground following stimulus package money, there’s one thing we know — these projects will certainly be a bridge to somewhere.

Accountability has become the catchphrase with infrastructure projects. And lack of it is what naysayers are using as their argument against funding for highway and bridge construction projects.

That’s exactly why the construction industry must have the ability to demonstrate that it can deliver on proposed infrastructure projects, says Jack Basso, COO and director of manager and business development for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Any stimulus package money used for infrastructure projects comes saddled with an accountability factor to “ensure the projects built aren’t “‘boondoogles,’” the kinds of things that would be viewed by the public as an embarrassment,” Basso told participants of an Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) conference call in late January, which was attended by a Better Roads editor. He points out that reporting on the progress of a project will be required 30, 60, 90, and 180 days into it.

“It will not be business as usual. I think people understand that,” said Basso, a lead financing expert with the state highway departments. “There are a lot of critics who say infrastructure investment is not a useful tool. In this kind of recession, you want these major types of [infrastructure] projects.”

Basso says we can expect to see quick-hitting projects such as repairs, resurfacing, and restoration in the first wave of infrastructure investment, followed by longer, expensive projects. “This will be lasting infrastructure,” he said. “These will overlap with the first.”

When infrastructure projects break ground following stimulus package money, there’s one thing we know — these projects will certainly be a bridge to somewhere.

Accountability has become the catchphrase with infrastructure projects. And lack of it is what naysayers are using as their argument against funding for highway and bridge construction projects.

That’s exactly why the construction industry must have the ability to demonstrate that it can deliver on proposed infrastructure projects, says Jack Basso, COO and director of manager and business development for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Any stimulus package money used for infrastructure projects comes saddled with an accountability factor to “ensure the projects built aren’t “‘boondoogles,’” the kinds of things that would be viewed by the public as an embarrassment,” Basso told participants of an Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) conference call in late January, which was attended by a Better Roads editor. He points out that reporting on the progress of a project will be required 30, 60, 90, and 180 days into it.

“It will not be business as usual. I think people understand that,” said Basso, a lead financing expert with the state highway departments. “There are a lot of critics who say infrastructure investment is not a useful tool. In this kind of recession, you want these major types of [infrastructure] projects.”

Basso says we can expect to see quick-hitting projects such as repairs, resurfacing, and restoration in the first wave of infrastructure investment, followed by longer, expensive projects. “This will be lasting infrastructure,” he said. “These will overlap with the first.”

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