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The National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU) is dedicated to ensuring that federal transportation dollars are spent on cost-effective, safe projects that serve the public interest. NASHTU is comprised of 38 unions and associations representing hundreds of thousands of state and locally employed transportation engineers, construction managers and inspectors, technical workers and related public servants from throughout the United States.

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NASHTU Notes

April 29, 2021

Florida Senate Aims to Reign in “Ballooning” Consultant Costs

The Florida State Senate has added a provision to its annual appropriations bill to reign in engineering consultant costs in an effort to lower the overall cost of transportation projects.  The provision would cap Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) contracts for design, engineering, and inspection services on a particular project to no more than 5% of the total cost of the project.

According to a Florida political website, Florida Politics, which wrote about the provision, the 5% cap will replace an existing 15% cap per project on construction engineering contracts.  The 15% cap came about after a recommendation from a 2000 study on the exorbitant costs of engineering services when outsourced to private sector engineering firms.

“Setting the 15% cap was one of many recommendations aimed at bringing ballooning consultant costs under control,” according to Florida Politics article.  Another recommendation was to bring more construction engineering services in-house rather than continuing to outsource work to the private sector.  Consultant engineers and inspectors routinely outnumber their counterparts within FDOT, according to the article.

Florida is not alone in outsourcing state engineering services at excessively high prices.   In recent years, studies in Ohio, Tennessee, California, Utah and Louisiana have found that outsourcing these services can cost two to three times as much as using in-house staff.

NASHTU has long advocated to limit the costly outsourcing of engineering services on transportation projects.  One of NASHTU’s legislative priorities is to require state and local departments of transportation to perform a cost comparison analysis that compares the cost of the work being performed by a private engineering firm to the costs of performing the work with its own professional staff.  Cost comparisons have shown that DOTs are spending considerably more to outsource engineering work and wasting millions of dollars better spent on actually building transportation infrastructure.

Read the complete article here:  Florida Politics

NASHTU’s Outsourcing Costs Fact Sheet


2020 NASHTU Conference – Canceled

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the 21st Annual NASHTU Conference – scheduled for April 20-22, 2020 in Washington D.C. – has been canceled.

Given the uncertainty about the length of the crisis, and given the limited congressional calendar in an election year, it is simply not possible at this time to reschedule the conference for this year.

We will be refunding any registration fees paid to date.  Please contact the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill at 202/737-1234 to cancel your room reservations.

We look forward to seeing you at the NASHTU conference in the spring of 2021.  If you have any questions, please contact NASHTU at nashtu@nashtu.us.