This year’s legislative sessions nationwide provided the design-build industry with important wins and new challenges as DBIA works to expand design-build and P3 authority in all fifty states.
In New York, design-build authority was set to expire this year; therefore, eliminating or at least extending this expiration was a priority. We aggressively deployed a full array of advocacy tools, but faced powerful opposition from several labor groups. So far, we have been successful in extending authority for 4 years (a two-year improvement) and expanded authority to four additional agencies. We were disappointed that the legislature did not grant design-build authority for New York City, which was one of our top goals, but are hopeful this will be revisited.
California has once again expanded design-build authority for additional state and local agencies. The California Military Department was given design-build authority through 2025; $1.5 billion of funding was earmarked for design-build projects to expand several state office buildings; and cities, counties and local transit districts were granted authority to use design-build on six additional transportation projects. The legislature also authorized design-build for the delivery of the 91 Toll Connector to Interstate 15 North project.
Virginia turned into an unexpected bright spot for us. We started the year with some problematic bills that would have limited design-build authority. In the end, working closely with legislators, we were not only able to eliminate the offending language but also eliminated all existing limitations on existing design-build authority.
In other states we saw: Oklahoma created a P3 partnership committee to review P3 proposals. They also explicitly authorized design-build and P3s for many state agencies. Passage of these bills was a big win.
West Virginia significantly increased the dollar amount of design-build projects that can take place in the state. They also extended their transportation design-build “sunset” significantly.
Nevada extended a transportation “sunset” to 2021, authorized P3s for local water and transportation projects and expanded authority for public works.
Arkansas also authorized local governments to use design-build for sewage projects over $2 million.
On the federal advocacy front, we are still waiting to see what the Trump Administration and the Republican congressional leadership are going to do on a promised infrastructure package. Further, we have a few DBIA-supported bills that put dollar limits on single-step design-build contracts. These bills are moving slowly as Congress grapples with other issues, but we will be watching them closely.
One issue has emerged of note: language was included in an early version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would exempt indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity (IDIQ) design-build contracts from mandated shortlisting to five finalists in two-step best value solicitation. This runs directly counter to design-build best practices, and would likely undermine the Defense Department’s ability to execute design-build contracts efficiently. DBIA has expressed our opposition to this bill to Congress and is working with allies to have it removed as the process moves forward.
For the latest on legislative efforts or more detail on the legislation above, visit the Advocacy page on our website, which updates details on key pending legislation every week.