Minister working to have road tenders out early
Transportation Minister Nick McGrath got a warm welcome from the Heavy Civil Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Thursday when he announced plans to tweak the province’s tendering process
Transportation Minisgter Nick McGrath
McGrath said that he wants tenders for roadwork to happen earlier in the year — late January or early February — so that contractors can hit the ground running in the spring as soon as the construction season starts.
A year ago, at the 2013 pre-budget consultations, it was the Heavy Civil Association that asked for this exact reform to the tendering system.
The association has a lot of skin in the game; it’s an industry group representing companies that build roads, sewers, bridges, wharves and other big infrastructure in the province.
McGrath acknowledged the problem that comes from issuing tenders after the budget is passed in April or May.
“I know that there have been some discussions for quite some time around the challenges of public-sector spending,” McGrath said.
“Tenders are issued well after the release of the annual provincial budget resulting in project contracts being awarded well into our short construction season.”
Basically, the government will now put up
$30 million worth of roadwork ahead of the provincial budget. The exact total amount of money to be spent on road maintenance for the year won’t be announced until budget day, but the $30-million early chunk means that companies will be able to secure some contracts and get to work as soon as the weather gets warmer.
“If I get tenders out early, you’re going to have to make sure the work gets done,” McGrath told the crowd.
Then somebody interrupted his speech to shout, “We’ll get it done.”