“Shovel-ready projects have to be ready to go,”
says Heather Jones, construction economist at FMI
Corp., a Raleigh, North Carolina, USA-based
management consultancy for the construction
industry. Basically, organizations have done everything but put the projects out to bid, she adds.
That means projects should be up and running
faster—providing an influx of money into the
economy, she says.
To make the cut, many municipalities are
pushing permits through, “but there are risks,”
Ms. Jones says. “If the project doesn’t get funded
right away, it may be a waste of resources.”
Most states are forging ahead anyway to make
sure they meet the criteria.
“To be truly ‘shovel-ready,’ these projects
have to meet some fairly strict definitions,” Jodi
Rell, governor of Connecticut, told The Bristol
Press when asked in January what projects would
make her list. “They have to be fully designed.
They have to be fully permitted—and that
includes not only all of the state, local and
federal permits needed but also any inspections,
surveys or reports required from agencies such as
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And they
have to be ready to break ground within 180
days of getting the money.”
Ms. Rell’s state has assembled a list of several
projects for consideration, including a $304,840
turnpike paving project and a $165,767 initiative
to replace a failed sanitary system at a state park.
Florida is also looking for its share of those
stimulus funds for its own shovel-ready projects,
which range from a $67,000 storm water
improvement initiative in South Daytona to a
$33 million streetscape effort in Orlando, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“I asked our staff to figure out any and every
possible project that might fit under any criteria
that they could possibly come up with,” Buddy
Dyer, the city’s mayor, told the paper. “We don’t
anticipate that every one of these projects is going
to get funded, but if there’s a possibility, we certainly didn’t want to feel foolish by emphasizing
one type of project over another.”
Government officials aren’t the only ones
making lists. The National Audubon Society in
Washington, D.C., USA, announced its own
to be spent on
projects by the
SOURCE: CIBC World Markets
inventory of shovel-ready projects, all of which
will specifically target ecosystem restoration.
“These projects are a win-win because they
are a great way to both stimulate the economy
through job creation and also improve many
degraded parts of the nation,” says April H.G.
Smith, director, ecosystem restoration. “Our proposals, including projects to be executed for the
Mississippi River Delta, Long Island Sound and
the Everglades, have been vetted and are all ready
to quickly create tens of thousands of jobs.”
Ms. Smith estimates a $3.5 billion investment
in ecosystem-restoration projects would create
50,000 to 75,000 jobs in industries including
construction and engineering, while restoring
thousands of acres of habitat.
Obviously not all of these projects will win
funding, but the promise of money is out there
for the right investments. So it pays to identify
which projects can be ready to go as soon as those
dollars are released.
Government leaders in Huntington, West
Virginia, USA are doing precisely that.
“It’s important that we have a plan in place
and be ready to respond,” Tom Bell, economic
development director and Huntington’s deputy
mayor, told the Herald Dispatch in January. “Even
if funding doesn’t come to fruition, we at least
will have a better feel for these projects.”