Design-Build, Permit Reform, Practical Design Among Bills Signed By Governor Inslee
SEATTLE, WA As complements to the transportation revenue package, the Washington State Legislature passed AGC-backed bills that improve permitting processes and authorize expanded use of design-build. Governor Jay Inslee signed the following bills into law.
Design-Build: 2ESSB 5997 authorizes and strongly encourages the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to use design-build contracting for projects costing more than $2 million. Also, it requires WSDOT to develop a construction-program business plan that, among other things, includes project-delivery methods for design and construction, and makes recommendations on the development of a strong-owner strategy. AGC will name a member to sit on an advisory committee to assist in the development of the business plan.
Expedited Permitting for Bridges: HB 1219 exempts the repair or replacement of structurally deficient bridges from SEPA, within certain parameters.
Practical Design: ESHB 2012 encourages WSDOT to continue to apply practical design and places savings attributable to practical design in a new account to fund future projects and preservation.
Permit Reforms: 2ESSB 5994 requires cities, towns, and counties to issue permits to WSDOT for projects that cost less than $500 million within 90 days of completion of the permit application, to the greatest extent practicable. Also, it directs WSDOT to coordinate a state-agency work group to evaluate the consolidation and coordination of review processes that apply to WSDOT projects under SEPA and NEPA.
Mobility and Congestion: 2ESB 5995 adds congestion relief and improved freight mobility to the definition of the existing transportation-system policy goal of mobility.
Design errors and permit coordination: 2ESSB 5996 requires WSDOT to report design errors with a cost greater than $500,000 and to report results of lean efforts. Also, it directs WSDOT to streamline its permitting process by developing and maintaining positive relationships with permitting agencies and tribes, and to continue using the multi-agency permit program, which must provide early project coordination and expedited project review.