Thursday, December 28, 2006

Counting the Cost for Regional Projects

Submitted by Paul Ellis

In September, WSDOT issued revised cost estimates for the SR-520 and Alaskan Way Viaduct projects using a methodology called Cost Estimate Validation Process; since then, the agency has been working to bring the cost estimates for other regional projects up to date. WSDOT just released the updated cost estimates for state highway projects included within the RTID Blueprint for Progress developed last January.

Cost Estimate Validation Process (CEVP) is an intense workshop in which a team of top engineers and risk managers from local and national private firms and public agencies examine a transportation project and review project details with WSDOT engineers. CEVP evaluation of regional projects reflects the increases that have occurred with respect to commodity prices and/or impacts from revisions or refinements to project scopes, risk factors like potential for increased environmental mitigation cost or unforeseen changes in design standards for seismic safety, and roughly a 3.5% rate of inflation per year.

WSDOT's updated estimates put the following price tags on key projects promoted by RAMP:
  • SR-167 extension - $1.468 billion
  • SR-704 construction - $453 million
  • SR-162 improvements - $286 million
One conclusion of the CEVP evaluation of regional projects is hardly a surprise to followers of this blog: the cost of delay is huge.

Paul Ellis is lead staff for RAMP; an employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Ellis led the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Committee (PCTAC), the community's largest transportation planning effort.

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