Infrastructure Funding is Coming – How Will It Affect Virginia Localities?

Erin Donovan, ACEC/MW Virginia Municipal Committee Chair and incoming Board Director, shares discusses insights shared at the Virginia Business Opportunities Luncheon.

There were over 110 in attendance at the Virginia Business Opportunities Luncheon on May 19th. The hybrid event was sponsored by the Virginia Municipal Committee and was the first event that this committee, started in 2020, has led in an in-person environment. The luncheon featured representatives from three prominent Virginia municipalities who shared their capital programs as well as how the recently passed Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is impacting their outlook on infrastructure development in the coming years. After the presentations, a panel discussion was led by Virginia Municipal committee chair, Erin Donovan, and supported by John McDowell, Virginia Municipal Committee Vice Chair. The slate of speakers included:
  • Terry A. Suehr, PE, PMP, DBIA – Director, City of Alexandria - Department of Project Implementation
  • Christopher Herrington – Director, Fairfax County Department of Public Works & Environmental Services (DPWES)
  • James (“Jim”) C. Zeller, PE – Assistant Director, Transportation Capital Projects, Loudoun County Department of Transportation & Capital Projects
First up, Terry briefed the audience covering Alexandria's $561M FY23 capital expenditure program that includes new projects in flood mitigation, bus facilities, a new pool, major storm sewer replacement as well as many transportation projects. Transitway and Metroway enhancements are among those that are planned along with intersection safety improvements and pedestrian accessibility projects. Terry also noted that there are engineering and construction management consulting opportunities upcoming in the next few months. As cost estimating increases in complexity with rising inflation and construction costs, the City plans to award a contract for CIP cost consulting services in the next few months as well. 

Chris took the stage next showcasing Fairfax County's five-year capital program that spans FY22 through FY26 and touches on the following five years as well. The CIP contains dozens of projects spread over parks, schools, facilities management, housing, transportation and public works.  In addition to covering many of the ongoing construction projects in DPWES, Chris covered conceptual level planning efforts for Reston Town Center North, and several master planning efforts including a transit-oriented development centered around the Silver Line in Herndon, redevelopment of the Judicial Complex in Fairfax and the original Mount Vernon High School site. Chris also outlined the contracting mechanisms and upcoming opportunities for our member firms including a project management and construction management (PM/CM) contract that will be advertised this Fall. Lastly, Chris briefed the audience on the 2022, 2024 and 2026 bond referendums that if passed will create many standalone procurement opportunities for our member firms with design and construction of libraries, police and fire stations, community centers and early childhood development centers. 

Finally, Jim covered Loudoun County's FY23 capital improvement program that covers four main functional areas: Transportation Capital Projects, Facilities and Public Infrastructure Projects, Transportation Planning & Traffic Engineering, and Transportation Services (Transit). The implications of the IIJA for the County seem minimal as many of their projects are locally funded. However, there are many projects that qualify for federal aid and the IIJA funding will be used to augment the local funding needed for these projects. Jim spoke about several opportunities for our member firms in the next 12-18 months including task order contracts for architectural services, construction support services and commissioning services. This summer, there are a couple of transportation related opportunities including a roadway and transportation design services contract to support federally funded projects as well as design services for Segment 1 of the Arcola Drive extension. Early 2023 will bring a couple of construction engineering and inspection contracts. Finally, a design build procurement for the Route 50 Northern Collector Road will be advertised in summer of 2023. 

A robust panel discussion included topics such as workforce shortages, progressive design build and other alternative contracting methods. The potential use of firm fixed price contracts as an alternative to fixed billable rate contracts was also discussed as that may allow member firms to be more efficient and effective in supporting the localities.

Thanks to all our speakers as well as John for helping moderate a successful event. Find out more about the event's presentations.  If you're interested in learning more about the ACEC/MW Virginia Municipal Committee or its efforts, please contact ACEC/MW.

Erin Donovan is Chief Operating Officer at T3 Design, a woman-owned engineering consulting firm located in Fairfax, Virginia. Erin earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from The Catholic University of American in Washington, DC and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. Erin is responsible for managing a staff of engineers with a business practice that includes Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Erin has been active in many professional organizations including holding leadership roles in ASCE and TRB as well as WTS-DC. Erin is ACEC/MW's Virginia Municipal Committee Chair and is an incoming Board Director for 2022-2023.


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