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Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

Congressman DeSaulnier Introduces Bi-partisan Legislation to Improve Accountability & Oversight of Megaprojects

December 15, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) introduced bi-partisan legislation to improve accountability and oversight of so-called “megaprojects.” The “Transportation Megaprojects Accountability and Oversight Act” (H.R. 4228) would establish an independent peer review group to assess the quality assurance, cost containment, and risk management of federal highway and transportation projects that cost over $2.5 billion. While current law requires financial reporting requirements for projects costing more than $500 million, no additional oversight mechanisms exist for large, complex megaprojects.

“Large infrastructure projects are vital to our country’s development and its economic growth. Yet, nine out of every 10 megaprojects experience cost overruns and many suffer significant delays that cost taxpayers millions of additional dollars. We’re building large scale projects all across the country and we should have both the benefit of lessons learned from existing projects and an independent outside analysis of future endeavors. The public deserves a system that manages costs, foresees risks, and holds decision-makers accountable,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

Examples of such projects include: the San-Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the I-265 Bridge between Kentucky and Indiana, the Big Dig in Boston, the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, and Denver International Airport.

H.R. 4228 would require agencies that receive federal funds for projects over $2.5 billion to submit a comprehensive risk management plan that includes a description of identified risks associated with the project, proposed mechanisms to manage such risks, updated cost estimates, among others. Additionally, it would establish an independent peer review group, with conflict of interest for greater transparency, consisting of a minimum of five individuals tasked with giving expert advice on scientific, technical, and management aspects of the megaproject.

As the former Chairman of the California Senate Transportation Committee, DeSaulnier helped bring to light numerous issues including an extensive investigation and hearing on deficiencies with the Bay Bridge which led to $5 billion overrun and a 10-year delay. In 2013, then-Senator DeSaulnier authored legislation in California which similarly established the use of peer review processes for public work projects in the state.

Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-1) is the Republican co-sponsor of H.R. 4228.