Representatives DeSaulnier, LaMalfa Announce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Accountability and Oversight of Transportation Megaprojects

July 31, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) announced bipartisan legislation to improve accountability and oversight of so-called “megaprojects.” The Transportation Megaprojects Accountability and Oversight Act (H.R. 6592) 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 need an oversight and review process that will help regain the public’s confidence in the government’s ability to plan, fund, and deliver these important projects and cut down on frustration, delay, and waste. The public deserves a system that manages costs, foresees risks, and holds decision-makers accountable,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

“While there are some additional requirements for projects costing over $500 million, there isn’t nearly enough risk management or oversight of larger and more complex ‘megaprojects.’ These projects frequently go over budget and experience costly delays that taxpayers foot the bill for. This legislation would help make sure these large infrastructure enterprises stay on budget and on time, and local communities would be better for it,” said Congressman LaMalfa.

Examples of megaprojects 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. 6592 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, and updated cost estimates, among other components. Additionally, it would establish an independent peer review group 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 State Senate Transportation Committee, DeSaulnier helped bring to light numerous issues surrounding the Bay Bridge including an extensive investigation and hearing on its deficiencies, which led to a $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 works projects in the state.