Committee Spotlight: Department of Transportation
The GCA State Department of Transportation (DOT) Committee provides the ideal forum for GCA members and DOT representatives to plot how to keep Hawaii on the move — literally. The committee’s collaborative bi-monthly meetings provide an open exchange of information and ideas to resolve challenging construction issues for ground, air and ocean transportation.
The DOT Committee includes representatives from all three divisions, Highways, Airports, and Harbors, and includes representatives from the Design Branch, Testing Lab, Contracts, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, along with a representative from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
“We have a good relationship with the DOT representatives, and in our meetings, we get input from our general contractors as well as our subcontractors, suppliers, and insurance/bonding sector,” said Colin Ching, Project Manager with Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., who serves as Vice Chair of the DOT Committee. “Having representatives from various sectors, allows us to be a strong advocate for our industry when dealing with various DOT issues.”
The DOT Committee has made great strides in creating mutually beneficial relationships:
- Answers to pre-bid RFIs are now issued to all bidders as an addendum to ensure each one receives the same information. This was not always the case in the past.
- When the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) pilot program was set to end earlier this year, the new Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) requirements and forms were discussed in the DOT Committee meetings before it was put into use for current bid projects.
- The committee also monitors the Qualified Products List that the DOT has posted on its website to provide contractors a list of materials that have been pre-approved for use on DOT-Highway projects.
"We have a good relationship with the DOT representatives, and in our meetings, we get input from our general contractors as well as our subcontractors, suppliers, and insurance/bonding sector."
GCA DOT Committee Vice Chair
Establishing a respectful, productive working relationship between GCA members and DOT lays a solid foundation for current issues.
“As a result of the pandemic, price escalation for construction materials and services has created shortages of materials and caused shipping delays,” Ching said. “Inflation is also a big problem for our GCA members. This issue has been brought up in our meetings and the DOT is evaluating escalation claims on a case-by-case basis.”
The productive rapport is especially important since new projects are on the horizon.
DOT-Airports is planning to make improvements at all airports statewide and is expecting additional funding this year and for the next four years.
DOT-Highways is also getting jobs ready to utilize the additional funds and is also working with the counties to get eligible projects ready for construction.
The open information sharing has made the DOT Committee one of the most popular committees. Over the past two years, the committee met every month via Zoom and continued to grow. Meetings can attract as many as 25 committee members and the DOT Committee has begun to hold hybrid meetings to provide more opportunities for face-to-face interaction for members before and after the meetings.