Give VDOT Credit Where Credit Is Due

VDOT is rebuilding public confidence with improved performance. From the Daily Press’ Hugh Lessig:

RICHMOND – Several years ago, the Virginia Department of Transportation faced withering criticism for its poor forecasting, cost overruns and inability to meet deadlines.

According to the latest data, times have changed.VDOT announced Thursday that it met or exceeded its on-time and on-budget goals for projects in fiscal year 2007, which ended in June. It is the best performance in the agency’s history.

Overall, VDOT completed 90 percent of its construction projects on deadline and on budget for fiscal year 2007. Its goal for deadlines was 70 percent and its budget goal was 80 percent.

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6 responses to “Give VDOT Credit Where Credit Is Due”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Does that mean they got things done sooner and cheaper, or that they created more realistic schedules and budgets?

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    just a quibble.

    As far as I know… VDOT actually constructs very few roads but rather they act as the Prime Contractor that manages such projects.

    a good metric… to help validate VDOT’s performance would be to compare on-time and on-budget with other states.

    Now someone could say .. that maybe that data might not be readily available.

    My response would be that VDOT probably knows how to obtain that data and they should be more than willing to show the public exactly where they rank…

    because.. making the current claim is as anon asked… are we getting new construction cheaper and faster than we used to?

    I doubt it…. but stand to be corrected….

    until then.. we’re listening to the “spin” machine in my view.

  3. I agree that VDOT has improved.

    However, I also understand anon 9:19 and Larry Gross’ points.

    Paris Hiton has recently improved her behavior.

    That does not necessarily make her well-behaved.

  4. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    “9:19 AM, Anonymous said…
    Does that mean they got things done sooner and cheaper, or that they created more realistic schedules and budgets?”

    Some of each and a little of both.

    When you have a low ball budget, you start more projects then you can finish on schedule with the budgeted dollars so you wait for the next budget cycle to get more dollars to finish the project. When a project runs beyond schedule its costs increase.

    The other thing that happens is VDOT changes the deadline for a project that is not going to be finished “on deadline and on budget.” That is the easy way to insure that 90% of the projects are on deadline and on budget.

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Wamsley makes an excellent point.

    When the 6yr plan is a “wish list” what exactly does “on time and on budget” really mean?

    Does a high number “on time/on budget” mean that the 6yr plan has become more of a real plan and less of a bogus wish list?

    But really.. how could you tell?

    If not mistaken..if you go take a look at the 6yr plan… some of the projects STILL do not show an anticipate start or end date..

    and if you don’t have a start and and end date.. what does that mean about the projected costs?

    well.. it means those numbers are.. pretty suspect in my opinion and hard for me to understand how one would judge those kinds of projects as being “on time and on budget”.

    Further.. what does it mean for a project .. in the six year plan that has a column that says “cost to complete”?

    Obviously, it means that .. that project will NOT be completed within the current 6yr plan window but when you also don’t have a related column that says “anticipated completion date” what does THAT mean?

    VDOT.. HAS improved.. but .. they still have a ways to go…

    Four or five years ago, JLARC had a LOT of fiscal recommendations and not all of them have been implemented.

    And again… since much of VDOT does is really project management… and not actual construction… this is really about managing projects, resources and money using.. GAPP – Generally Accepted Accounting Processes – which is not an exotic endeavor.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    JW: nice response. That was my thinking exactly.


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