On October 5, 2013, Governor Brown signed AB 401 (Daly, D- Anaheim) into law. The new law grants Caltrans, Orange County Transportation Authority, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and other regional transportation agencies expanded authority to use design build for project procurement. You can view a summary of the new law here. Highlights include:
- Caltrans is now able to use design-build procurement for 10 projects on the state highway system;
- The Orange County Transportation Authority may now use design-build for improvements on the I-405;
- The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is specifically included in the definition of a "regional transportation agency" that is allowed to use design-build;
- Defines "regional transportation agency" to include county transportation commissions, any agency so designated by statute, and joint powers agencies created with consent of a local transportation agency or commission;
- Cities and counties are not included in the grant of authority to use design build; and
- Other regional transportation agencies, as defined in the law, may also use design build procurement on expressways that are not on the state highway system.
The full text of the new law can be found here.
At least one regional transportation agency, the SouthEast Connector JPA, is already considering using its newly authorized design-build powers for its planned, 35-mile parkway serving the Sacramento and El Dorado County region. You can view its press release about AB 401 here.
Existing law set to expire at the new year authorized only certain state and local transportation agencies to seek authorization from the California Transportation Commission to use the design build process. The new bill expands the number of agencies that will be able to utilize the process, which may likely improve the delivery of highway projects and provide significant cost savings for local agencies. The bill also contains provisions regarding construction inspection services and other monitoring and enforcement services related to design-build projects.
For more on design-build, see my colleague Geoffrey Petrov's recent blog post.
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