New Mexico to Explore Innovative Contracting

A prequalification system approved by the Federal Highway Administration aims to improve contractors' performance.

DOT announced March 5 that the Federal Highway Administration has approved a new contracting approach that the New Mexico Department of Transportation will use on an experimental basis, hoping it can help save time and money over the life of a construction project.

Under this system, a prequalification score based on the contractor's past performance will now be considered along with the contractor's bid in awarding the job. This applies to projects with a cost of more than $5 million and will provide an incentive for contractors to be more reliable with costs, according to DOT.

"We at U.S. DOT encourage others to come up with innovative ways to be more efficient, and this approach is one that we believe may help make the transportation system work better," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "Providing quality construction projects will yield better and sustainable jobs for the future."

Construction quality, timeliness, job safety, compliance, and claims records will all be taken into account to develop the rating system. NMDOT anticipates the new system will hold contractors more accountable and help to avoid escalating costs and delays. "This contracting approach could provide New Mexico taxpayers with better value for their dollars," Deputy Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. "It's also about getting the most from our federal investment."

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