WSDOT has announced that a few projects to be advertised by the end of this year will carry Maximum Funds Available (MFA) specifications. For these projects bids will be rejected if the bid amounts exceed the specified maximum funds available.
The Connecting Washington transportation package, passed in 2015, included line-itemed project appropriations, creating fixed budgets to complete specific project-level scopes of work. WSDOT, with AGC’s support, is working with legislators to find options that allow for funding flexibility.
However, until it has more flexibility, WSDOT will use MFA specification when it determines there is insufficient margin between the engineer’s estimate and available funding; carefully manage the project development, track cost-to-complete and utilize practical design principles to reduce the cost of projects; and encourage value-engineering change proposals under contract.
“WSDOT appreciates the efforts that a bidder invests in putting a bid together,” the department said in a memo to contractors. “We do not want to advertise projects that we do not anticipate executing. However, given the current bidding climate, it is sometimes difficult to predict if the budget will be adequate. In the event that the budget is tight, we are electing to advise the bidders of the funding constraint. This not only allows the bidder to make an informed decision but it also protects the bidders’ pricing in the event of a rebid, provided the bidder is over the maximum and elects not to submit.”
One project has already been advertised with the MFA specification (SR 518/Des Moines Memorial Drive interchange improvements). Three upcoming projects may use the MFA specification: I-5/Mounts Road Vicinity-VMS, US 395/NSC Columbia to Freya, and SR 20/Sharpes Corner Vicinity improvements.
If you have questions or would like additional information, contact Craig McDaniel, Deputy State Construction Engineer.