South Milwaukee Rep. Mark Honadel has reportedly floated a bill in the Assembly that would remove requirements that the Department of Transportation engage in a cost-benefit analysis on engineering services that exceed $25,000.
The proposed measure would only require a yearly report on the cost of those services.
Learn more in this WISC-TV story. From it:
Rep. Mark Honadel, R-South Milwaukee, wants to get rid of required cost-benefit analysis forms the DOT has to fill out on nearly every engineering project. The forms show the estimated difference between the cost of state engineers and private contractors. Honadel wants to have the DOT only do a year-end report on that comparison.
A WISC-TV investigation last year found the DOT spending millions more for outside consultants instead of state engineers, based on these forms.
Honadel said he wants to eliminate the paperwork, following up on the Governor’s Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission report that found faults with the state’s cost-benefit analysis reporting.
“The commission discovered that these reports are time consuming, costly, have a questionable value, and significant DOT staff time is dedicated to producing between 200 and 400 reports a year,” said Honadel at an Assembly Transportation Committee hearing Tuesday.
DOT officials said they are supportive of the proposal, saying the forms now only provide them with an “educated guess” of costs.
Democratic lawmakers and others have spoken about against the bill, including Rep. Mark Pocan and Mark Klipstein, president of the State Engineering Association.
Pocan’s quote: “This bill doesn’t make fiscal sense. The Walker administration admits in the Waste, Fraud and Abuse report we spend too much money on outsourcing engineering for transportation projects. Yet, Republicans are trying to eliminate mandatory cost-benefit analysis intended to help the Department of Transportation determine if they should outsource projects in the first place.
“In 2009, an audit by the Legislative Audit Bureau proved in many instances, the state could have saved money had it utilized qualified state engineers rather than contracting out some of its engineering work. Ironically, this bill will open the door for additional costs.”
Quick aside: Honadel has also removed his support for a bill that could lead to mixed martial art fights being held in more than 1,200 towns in the state. Check out the OnMilwaukee.com story here.