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Today, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to discuss various issues affecting the nation’s transportation system. The session covered a wide range of topics, but one of the most pressing for ACEC members is a proposed rule from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that has sparked significant concern among engineering professionals.

During the hearing, Congressman Bruce Westerman of Arkansas raised an important question regarding the FHWA’s proposed rule, which would waive federal regulations governing the procurement and administration of engineering and design services by local governments.

“I’ve heard serious concerns from engineering companies in my district about the potential impact of this change, which could undermine the long-standing and successful qualifications-based selection process that has been the federal standard for decades,” said Congressman Westerman.

He emphasized the importance of the QBS method, noting that it ensures the hiring of the most qualified engineering firms, ultimately saving time and money, producing better projects, and ensuring more satisfied project owners. Furthermore, he pointed out that the QBS method provides small and minority-owned firms an even playing field to compete based on their specific proficiencies.

Congressman Westerman also noted the significant public opposition to the FHWA proposal. “It’s my understanding that more than 740 public comments were filed in nearly unanimous opposition to the FHWA proposal. Can you please ensure that the Administration will carefully consider the views of the engineering community and the potential negative impact of the proposed rule on public safety and project costs?”

Secretary Buttigieg responded to these concerns with a commitment to thorough consideration. “Yes, I’ll take care to look into that. We want to make sure that anything we do that affects the relationship with the engineering community is responsible and conducive to good, effective, safe project delivery.”

ACEC wrote to the FHWA Administrator in March outlining concerns and joined other engineering and construction organizations in raising their collective voice in a letter to the Administrator the same month.

ACEC will continue to engage the Department of Transportation and congressional policymakers as they review the feedback and potential impacts of the proposed rule.


June 27, 2024



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