Department of Transportation Finds $50 Million in Efficiencies

In a report issued this week, Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino identifies 13 efficiencies with total savings projected at $50 million. The money-saving efforts and subsequent report came at the request of Governor Branstad. He directed the department to find efficiencies in order to free up more money in the Road Use Tax Fund for the improvement of the public roadway system. According to the DOT, the fund has a $220 million critical needs shortfall. The report separates the efficiencies into two categories: Program Efficiencies and Partnership Efficiencies.

Some of the program efficiencies include an assessment of rest area and weigh station investments ($1.5 million annually), a reduction in roadside vegetation improvements ($1 million annually), and the selling of unnecessary right of way parcels ($1 million in one-time). Another savings worth a one-time $11 million is the implementation of an asset management tool. This would help the DOT make better decisions on how and when to upgrade and maintain their physical assets. Similar, is another program efficiency worth $10 million annually that envisions the implementation of new budgetary management policies focused on post-letting project costs. The goal would be to deliver projects ahead of schedule and under budget.

The other category of savings is partnership efficiencies. The major savings found in this category comes from a surface transportation program ($5 million annually) and the integration of the motor vehicle enforcement division (commonly known as “blue coats”) into the Department of Public Safety ($5 million annually).

Some of these efficiencies will require legislative action or action by the Transportation Commission. Some will simply require cooperation at the county or local level. A full copy of the report released this week—which includes details on the efficiencies, and whether or not the efficiency requires legislative action—can be found here