S 615

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 615

To improve the accountability and transparency in infrastructure spending by requiring a life-cycle cost analysis of major infrastructure projects, providing the flexibility to use alternate infrastructure type bidding procedures to reduce project costs, and requiring the use of design standards to improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 17, 2011

Mr. VITTER introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs


A BILL

To improve the accountability and transparency in infrastructure spending by requiring a life-cycle cost analysis of major infrastructure projects, providing the flexibility to use alternate infrastructure type bidding procedures to reduce project costs, and requiring the use of design standards to improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Fiscal Accountability and Transparency in Infrastructure Spending Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

      (1) AGENCY- The term `agency' has the meaning given the term `Executive agency' in section 105 of title 5, United States Code.

      (2) ALTERNATE INFRASTRUCTURE TYPE BIDDING- The term `alternate infrastructure type bidding' means a process under which a Federal, State or local agency determines, from engineering and economic analysis, that 2 or more initial project designs utilizing different construction materials and methods and their forecasted performance and life-cycle costs are comparable or similar enough to warrant solicitation of bids on more than 1 design for a project.

      (3) LIFE-CYCLE COST ANALYSIS- The term `life-cycle cost analysis' means a process for evaluating the total economic worth of an infrastructure project by analyzing initial costs and discounted future costs, such as structural maintenance, user costs, reconstruction, rehabilitation, restoring, and resurfacing costs, over at least a 50-year period.

      (4) MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS- The term `major infrastructure projects' means highway, transit, rail (including high-speed passenger rail), airport, seaport, public housing, energy, water, bridge, and military construction projects, including those authorized under titles 23, 40, and 49, United States Code, for which the total Federal cost estimated by the Federal or State government, including the cost of materials, is not less than $5,000,000.

      (5) MECHANISTIC-EMPIRICAL PAVEMENT DESIGN GUIDE- The term `Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide' means the pavement design guide and software, developed under National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project 1-37A, providing a uniform basis for the design of flexible, rigid, and composite pavements, using mechanistic-empirical approaches.

SEC. 3. LIFE-CYCLE COST ANALYSIS.

    (a) Requirement To Obtain Life-Cycle Cost Analysis- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, each agency shall obtain a life-cycle cost analysis based on the standards developed by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to subsection (c) for each major infrastructure project prior to obligating funds.

    (b) Sources of Life-Cycle Cost Analysis- The life-cycle cost analysis required under subsection (a) may be obtained from State or local governments, or private sector entities.

    (c) Guidance-

      (1) DEVELOPMENT- Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, shall issue a circular that provides guidance to agencies on implementing the requirements under subsection (a).

      (2) REQUIREMENTS- In developing the circular required under paragraph (1), the Director shall--

        (A) provide the public with notice and opportunity to comment before issuing the circular;

        (B) consider the principles contained in section 2 of Executive Order 12893, `Principles for Federal Infrastructure Investments' (January 31, 1994; 59 Fed. Reg. 4233); and

        (C) require that any analysis obtained pursuant to subsection (a)--

          (i) be conducted over at least a 50-year valuation period; and

          (ii) use actual material life and maintenance cost data.

    (d) Transparency- Any life-cycle analysis obtained by an agency pursuant to subsection (a) shall be posted on the agency's Web site not later than 72 hours after it is received.

SEC. 4. FLEXIBILITY TO USE ALTERNATE INFRASTRUCTURE TYPE BIDDING PROCEDURES.

    (a) Application to National Highway System- A State transportation department or local transportation agency may, in its sole discretion, award contracts for projects on the National Highway System pursuant to alternate infrastructure type bidding procedures.

    (b) Application to Other Major Infrastructure Programs- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, Federal, State and local governments may award contracts for major infrastructure projects pursuant to alternate infrastructure type bidding procedures.

SEC. 5. MECHANISTIC-EMPIRICAL PAVEMENT DESIGN GUIDE.

    Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall require States to utilize the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide for the initial design phase of all projects authorized under title 23, United States Code.

END