The Biden administration announced $7.3 billion in new formula funding that the US Department of Transportation says will “help communities build resilient infrastructure.”
Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) is a new program announced July 29, 2022, that makes these funds available over five years to states for projects focusing on resilience planning, making resilience improvements to existing transportation assets and evacuation routes, and addressing at-risk highway infrastructure.
Formula funding and long-range planning of capital programs, incorporating future risks and what-if scenarios is not a new concept to public agencies, but predicting volatile weather events and exactly how climate change will affect infrastructure assets in the future may require rapidly evolving data, new ways of thinking, and new technology.
For example, sensors that transmit data to software systems triggering work orders have become more mainstream in many regions. Most of the use cases help asset owners react to an event, such as an outage or failure, as opposed to predicting and preventing damages, which makes sense for existing infrastructure that must be maintained and operational.
On August 11, 2022, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement, “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we're launching this unprecedented effort to help communities protect their transportation infrastructure from extreme weather and improve routes that first responders and firefighters need during disasters.”
Planning infrastructure and potential scenarios that could affect future operations will need data from different sources and will require the ability to run multiple models. Software designed for scenario planning makes this task easier, faster, and offers the ability to change variables in risk modeling.
Risk analysis tools can help identify threats and opportunities. Software can help run large quantities of impact simulations and quantitative analysis in less time, giving organizations multiple perspectives of what could happen and execute mitigation strategies. For more on a collaborative approach to risk, view a short video.
Prioritizing which projects will be most important for communities is another standard task for public agencies that is made easier with software. Adapting to shifting initiatives from ballot measures, administration changes, regulatory compliance, or other factors is common. Agencies that perform portfolio planning manually or use spreadsheets don’t get the benefits of a central registry of projects, scoring and weighting, and other advantages that a purpose-built digital tool can provide. Weighting resilience projects may promote these over other projects in the mix.
PROTECT outlines that the grant money is for improving evacuation and emergency response routes first responders would take in the event of natural disasters, some of which may be caused by climate change. Eligible projects can involve improving existing transportation infrastructure or for new construction to keep communities safe by bolstering the network’s ability to withstand extreme weather events and other physical hazards that are becoming more common and intense.
Systems and processes need to be just as resilient as the assets being planned and built. By institutionalizing the intellectual capital of your CIP process you create resiliency of operations. Templating the project request forms, standardizing workflow routing for reviews and approvals, and creating scoring criteria artifacts ensures these processes can be repurposed again and again for consistency and future strategic decision-making. The flexibility of a tool purpose-built for portfolio planning allows for adaptation when new criteria surfaces, but also maintains the standards your organization has established.
To learn how to prioritize your portfolio and streamline the funding and budget financial governance, watch Kristin DeSha, director of product strategy, demonstrate the product in the Optimize Public Capital Budgets webcast. To explore more product capabilities, visit the Oracle Primavera Cloud web page.
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