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SB 70 Authorizes Georgia DOT To Use 'Design-Build'

April 26, 2013
Aerial view of an Atlanta interstate

Georgia’s transportation infrastructure must continue growing in order to attract economic investment and safely serve the travel needs of those who live both in and outside of the state. Businesses need to make sure their products can move to consumers in a reliable and quick manner through as many means as possible—by road, by air and sometimes even by water. These same travel channels are also responsible for bringing thousands of visitors to Georgia each year for high profile events such as the Final Four basketball tournament or the Masters’ golf tournament.

Our state is home to one of the world’s busiest airports, a major shipping port and busy interstate roadways. However, growth and upkeep usually come at a price—and while the return on investment almost always exceeds the initial cost, every penny needs to be used wisely. Improvements to Georgia’s roadways must come at a fiscally responsible price and be carefully vetted, especially since it is the taxpayers that receive the project invoice. 

Senate Bill 70, which was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal on Thursday, April 18, will authorize the Georgia Department of Transportation to utilize a procedure known as “design-build” for certain types of projects. Currently, GDOT is allowed to bid out and contract certain projects such as buildings, bridges and rail corridors if the scope of work can be clearly defined or if a contractor is able to complete the project in a significantly faster time frame.

Technology projects that could provide detailed insight on improving traffic flow and reducing costs cannot currently be contracted out, which causes a significant delay to completing the state’s transportation project list. SB 70 would approve technology initiatives to be performed by contractors and provide for more timely completion.

SB 70 also gives GDOT the option of combining services into a single contract if the project involves the relocation of public utilities and the ability to use a one-step procurement process. The measures outlined in SB 70 will cut administrative costs in the long run and reduce the time involved with managing contractors and projects.

Broken roadways and outdated technology halt the flow of traffic and frustrate both Georgia residents and businesses. Anything the Georgia General Assembly can do to keep traffic moving at a cost-effective price should be a top priority, and the measures outlined in SB 70 will allow Georgia to do just that.

About the Author

Sen. Steve Gooch is the bill sponsor of SB 70 and serves as Chairman of the Transportation Committee.  He represents the 51st Senate District, which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.