General Assembly Update
January 30, 2012
VTCA LOBBIES FOR CHANGES TO BONDING BILL
Delegate Villanueva (R-VA Beach) has introduced a bill (HB 945) that would raise the threshold for performance and payment bonds on transportation construction projects from $250,000 to $500,000. VTCA opposes the bill.
We have offered a series of amendments to the bill that would: 1 Require the Department of Treasury’s Risk Management Division to establish a state sponsored performance and payment bonding program for transportation projects, similar to the requirements of HB 1951 that passed last year for vertical construction; 2 Require bonds for All VDOT projects; and, 3. For projects up to $500,000 in value, a contractor could apply for a bond from the state sponsored program after first applying for a bond from the private sector and being turned down.
In discussions last week with the administration and the patron, both seem willing to accept the amendments.
VTCA WORKS WITH VDOT TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES TO CLAIMS PROCESS
After several members expressed concerns about the VDOT claims process, VTCA had legislation drafted that would have required several major changes to the claims process. After discussions between VTCA and senior VDOT officials, VDOT has agreed to implement several key changes that would, among other things, open up the claims process by allowing resolution meetings before the formal claims process begins and allow the claimant access to VDOT claims analysis information. As a result, VTCA has chose not to introduce the legislation we had prepared. Watch for more information on the revisions to the claims process in the next few weeks.
VTCA SEEKS AMENDMENTS TO GOVERNOR’S TRANSPORTATION BILL
The Governor’s 21-page omnibus transportation bill (see summary) contains provisions that VTCA opposed. In meetings last week, VTCA asked the administration to change provisions in the bill to insure that: 1. the new tolling authority created in the legislation only had jurisdiction over toll roads; 2. the tolling authority had to abide by VDOT policies, procedures and specifications with regards to planning, developing, procurement, construction, maintenance and operations; and, 3) that the “devolution” study called for in the legislation would develop a “proposal” for devolution as opposed to specific recommendations.
The administration was receptive to our proposed amendments.
LOCAL/STATE PREFERENCE BILLS KILLED IN SUBCOMMITTEE
More than a half dozen “local/state” preference bills have been introduced that would allow, among other things, contractors/vendors from Virginia or a specific locality to “match” the lowest bid in a procurement. VTCA opposed these bills because: 1. There was no clear definitions of what constituted a “Virginia firm”; 2. They violated the spirit of “low bid” procurement; and, 3. They would have likely led to retaliation from other states. The majority of the bills were killed in subcommittee last week.