The passing of the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act (IIJA), commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill provides a US$1.2 trillion infrastructure spending package.
This amount would be the country’s most significant federal infrastructure investment in 50 years, says the Brookings article, “America has an infrastructure bill. What happens next?”
As states and local governments prepare to spend federal money, delivery systems play a crucial role in whether the rollout of infrastructure projects will be successful.
The Transport Topics item “ASCE: Delivery Systems Key to Infrastructure Projects” mentions that delivery systems involve the logistics of how people, raw materials, or supplies are transported in projects.
Below are more excerpts from the said article:
The article features Maria Lehman, president-elect of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
She explained the changes needed in the delivery systems to ensure that infrastructure projects are delivered on time and avoid delays due to logistical problems regarding the availability of construction materials, manpower, and services needed to do the job.
“It’s about all the entities coming together to figure this out. How you’re getting the products, how you’re moving them to where it needs to be, how you’re buying them, and how you’re implementing them. All of that has to be addressed if you’re going to be more effective and efficient,” Lehman said.
Lehman says that entities and governments should be aware of “weaknesses” in basic delivery systems that could potentially affect the projects, such as delays and what is causing them, and what can contractors do differently “to take the spikes, the peaks and the valleys out of the delivery”.
She also notes that transportation departments and other groups should determine where funding will come into projects and look for “pinch points in the process” to find creative ways to resolve potential issues before they arise.
As the U.S. Department of Transportation and state DOT officials are considering efficiency and supply chain issues, Lehman provides practical advice to deal with the challenges such as pre-ordering materials needed to replace or repair bridges and roads instead of doing the traditional bidding process and signing contracts and have suppliers stockpile materials now to avoid paying higher costs due to inflations.
Lastly, the trucking industry also needs to improve its efficiency and ensure that they have enough drivers to transport materials.
Taking into account all the elements of the delivery system, Lehman noted that “It’s a system of systems. It’s the weak link that makes the whole thing break down.”
Amid the supply chain crisis and global inflation, Lehman provides helpful insights into how delivery systems can accommodate a massive rollout of infrastructure projects as the country implements the IIJA.
Lehman suggests that the focus should be on program delivery rather than traditional project-by-project delivery. Local, state and city governments can avoid supply chain spikes and logistic problems that could delay the implementation of vital infrastructure projects and upgrades.
As program delivery challenges impact infrastructure projects worldwide, infrastructure management practitioners need to focus on how they can deliver programs in the required timeframes.