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Preconstruction Provisions Questions & Answers

Posted 9/25/2012

Value Engineering

Question 1: Did MAP-21 change the thresholds for projects for which a Value Engineering (VE) analysis is required?

Answer 1: Yes. Section 1503(a)(3) of MAP-21 essentially doubled the thresholds for the total cost of projects requiring a VE analysis. VE analyses are now required for:

  1. Projects on the National Highway System (NHS) receiving Federal assistance with an estimated total cost of $50,000,000 or more; and
  2. Bridge projects on the NHS receiving Federal assistance with an estimated total cost of $40,000,000 or more.

Question 2: Were other changes made to the projects for which VE analyses are required?

Answer 2: Yes. VE analyses are no longer required for non-NHS bridge projects (as specified in 23 U.S.C. 106(e)(2)(B)) or for projects delivered using the design/build method of construction (as specified in 23 U.S.C. 106(e)(5)).

Question 3: What is the effective date for the VE requirements of MAP-21?

Answer 3: The effective date is October 1, 2012. All projects authorized for Federal-aid funding on or after that date must comply with the MAP-21 VE provisions. For project authorizations made on or after October 1, the new thresholds should be used to determine whether a VE analysis is required.

Question 4: Did Section 1503(a)(3) of MAP-21 make any changes to VE program requirements?

Answer 4: Yes. Section 1503(a)(3) of MAP-21 codifies in title 23 U.S.C. 106(e)(4) certain requirements for VE programs currently contained in regulation. Specifically, it requires State DOTs to:

  1. Establish and document VE program policies and procedures;
  2. Ensure that the required VE analysis is conducted before completing the final design of a project;
  3. Ensure that the VE analysis that is conducted, and the recommendations developed and implemented for each project, are documented in a final report; and
  4. Monitor, evaluate, and annually report to FHWA the results of the VE analyses that are conducted and the recommendations implemented for each project in the State.

Question 5: Can a waiver or exemption be granted for the requirement to conduct a VE analysis?

Answer 5: No. There are no provisions in law that authorize FHWA to grant a waiver or exemption to the requirement to conduct VE analyses.

Question 6: Will the VE regulations in 23 CFR 627 be revised?

Answer 6: Yes, 23 CFR 627, along with FHWA Order 1311.1A, will be revised to reflect the MAP-21 changes.

Justification Reports for Access Points on Interstate System

Question 1: Will the revisions that were included in section 1505 change the process for requesting and approving changes in access to the Interstate System?

Answer 1: Not immediately. Section 1505 allows the Secretary the option of permitting a State Transportation Agency (STA) the authority to approve justification reports for changes in access to the Interstate System. Additional guidance will be issued at a future date regarding any authority FHWA may consider permitting STAs to approve justification reports for Interstate access. Until new guidance is issued, the existing policy and procedures remain in effect.

Mapping

Question 1: Do the revisions included in section 1517 make necessary surveying and mapping services performed by private sector sources an eligible expense for reimbursement on highway projects using Federal-aid funding?

Answer 1: Yes. Under section 1517, surveying and mapping services performed by private sector sources are now explicitly identified as an expense eligible for reimbursement on Federal-aid projects (as specified in 23 U.S.C. 306(a)).

FHWA continues to encourage States to utilize, to the maximum extent practicable, private sector sources for surveying and mapping services. FHWA does not have the authority to require STAs and local public agencies (LPAs) to utilize private sector surveying and mapping services. However, STAs and LPAs may use private sector engineering and design related services "to the extent necessary or desirable" in support of ensuring that the agency is suitably equipped and organized to carry out the responsibilities of the Federal-aid highway program, as specified in 23 U.S.C. 302(a).

Question 2: What is the significance of the revisions included in section 1517 and will FHWA issue updated guidance?

Answer 2: The addition of State "government" in 23 U.S.C. 306(b) indicates that other State agencies outside of the State's transportation agency may provide surveying and mapping services. Engineering and related services performed by other State agencies under the supervision of the STA are eligible for Federal participation, as specified in 23 CFR 1.11. State government staff and equipment shall be utilized in accordance with State law, regulation, policies, and procedures.

Pursuant to section 1517, within 2 years of the enactment of MAP-21, FHWA will conduct a survey of all States to determine the percentage of Federal-aid highway projects in each State that utilize private sector sources for surveying and mapping services. (23 U.S.C. 306(d)). Information obtained from the survey will be used to issue revised guidance recommending appropriate roles for government and private sector surveying activities and continuing to encourage States to use private sector sources to provide these services. (23 U.S.C. 306(b)). The survey results will also be used to develop a process for the oversight and regular monitoring of each State's use of the private sector to provide these services. (23 U.S.C. 306(c)).

Page last modified on September 12, 2013.
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