Two major bills in Arkansas passed this session. First, legislation to authorize design-build for local municipal sewage systems (HB 1645) passed, authorizing the delivery method for sewage systems valued over $2 million. In addition, Arkansas authorized P3s for all state entities through the passage of SB 651.
A funding bill was introduced with language that would have prohibited consideration of past experience for DOT projects funded by the $3.5 billion worth of bonds issued by the bill. HB 1171 (SB 205) specified that bid offerors on projects funded by the bonds could not be penalized during selection for a lack of experience. This bill has been postponed indefinitely and is not likely to pass.
Legislation was once again introduced this year to strip the Board of Regents of their design-build authority. As in past years, we worked closely with DBIA’s Mid-America Region on ensuring this bill did not progress. We are happy to report that the bill failed and this authority was protected for another year.
Legislation to subject county governments to municipal consent law and thus limit their design-build authority was defeated once again this session. In addition, legislation to allow design-build on Trunk Highway projects while increasing their funding (HB 837) passed this session.
When legislation was introduced to curtail the use of Construction Manager at Risk contracts by the Transportation Commission, Montana made sure to protect their ability to use design-build in HB 92. In addition, HB 520 which also passed this session expanded design-build authority to include fire districts.
The Governor’s budget bill this year reauthorized design-build for the Department of Transportation; the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and the Department of Environmental Conservation for four more years. The bill also successfully included several project specific authorizations for several entities that had not been authorized to use design-build previously. Reauthorization of design-build was one of DBIA’s top legislative priorities.
SB 430 created a Partnership Committee charged with the mission of reviewing public-private partnership (P3) proposals as well as serving as the review body for bids and selection of bidders on P3s. Local governments and state agencies with the exception of the DOT are now authorized to use P3s. While this bill specifies that the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Turnpike Authority are exempt from this act, it affords the DOT the ability to use P3 if they consult the Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and receive approval from the Transportation Commission or Turnpike Authority.
Legislation was passed expanding design-build authority to all local governments. Previously the use of design-build was limited to only those local governments with a population greater than 100,000 people (SB 1129 and HB 2366). Not only were we able to expand design-build authority, we were also successful in stripping provisions that would have placed price thresholds on design-build projects. The thresholds that would have limited the use of design-build to projects over $40 million were amended out of the final version. This was a major victory for DBIA and the state.
SB 5806 recommends the use of design-build on the new I-5 bridge. Washington has used design-build often and the Legislature’s recommendation of the delivery method reflects positively on design-build and its benefits.
With several project delivery sunsets facing the state in 2017, the West Virginia Legislature was able to extend and expand design-build and P3 authority across the board. HB 2721 extended P3 authority until 2023 and lowered the project threshold on these projects to $10 million. HB 2722 increased the spending limit for design-build projects by the Division of Highways from $50 million annually to $400 million for future fiscal years, while HB 2815 authorized design-build for state institutions of Higher Education.