FHWA chief offers some thoughts: Tell a better story
“Whether it is 13, 15 or 11 years doesn’t matter,” he says. “We can’t afford to take 10 years or more to deliver these projects. My goal is to cut this time in half.”
Here he is sharing the stated goal of Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), of course.
But won’t the refroms needed to do that have to wait for reauthorization legislation? No, says Mendez. He says he’s already assigned his staff to start work on looking at ways to streamline some procedures and practices, including ternative bidding practices.
By the way, he asked me to beware of the word “streamlining ” because “it can suggest shortcutting and that is not what we are doing. He is looking for efficiencies, he says, ways to avoid to avoid timekillers such as duplication or failures to share information.
One more thing. Some key senators from both sides of the aisle have urged only a six-month delay in replacing or reauthorizing SAFETEA-LU, Mendez says, but while technically non-commital, he says his main concern about moving too quickly is that needed procedural and structural reforms may not be done right.
And he concedes that the administration still sees reauthorization firmly in line behind health care reforms.
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