We’ve heard a lot of questions from people about stimulus funding and what it means for the transportation industry. Like you, the Pavia Systems team couldn’t find an easy to understand resource for stimulus information, so we decided to do some research. We’ve found it particularly challenging to determine where the opportunities are and where the dollars are actually reaching contractors and vendors in the industry. In this issue of the RoadReady newsletter, we’ll be exploring how to make sense of the stimulus funding for the transportation industry.
First, let’s translate some common terms that we all should understand
The first thing you need to do when you’re digging into the stimulus package is to make sure you understand the commonly used terms. At a minimum, you’ll want to be familiar with the following terms and what they usually mean:
The terms Obligated, Provided or Available are often used interchangeably. They refer to financial commitments that the Federal Government has made for projects. However, these terms do NOT indicate that the money has been spent or that business decisions have been made.
The U.S. DOT maintains the map below, which summarizes the number of Obligated projects at the state level:
Once a project has commitments for financial support and is scheduled, the project is advertised in order to solicit bids. This is the area that you’ll want to focus your attention on if you’re looking for opportunities to bid on upcoming jobs. State-specific information is often available through your State’s DOT. If you’re unsure of the web address of the site, the full list is available here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/webstate.htm
A project is considered awarded once the vendors for the project have been selected. When you’re looking at the stimulus funding information, the awarded projects are typically past the point of bidding opportunity.
Funds are only considered paid out or spent when the funds have been transferred to the states or the vendors associated with the project.
Using this knowledge to find opportunities
With that understanding of the key terms, it should be easier to use the publicly available stimulus information to your advantage. If you’re trying to determine what opportunities for new business exist for you and your organization, you’ll want to start by looking at the state project information. Remember, if you’re not sure where to look for your state, start at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/webstate.htm. Focusing on the projects that are being advertised and that have yet to be awarded should turn up some opportunities that are worth exploring. The bottom line is this: while the money from the stimulus package is being allocated as we speak, most of the dollars have yet to really start flowing to projects.