Colorado Public Works Journal, Spring 2024

56┃ Colorado Public Works Journal Travis Greiman is a Project Manager and Associate at Benesch and can be contacted at APWA INSIGHTS Travis Greiman Asset Management: An Excellent Return on Investment If you’ve attended any public works or civil engineering conferences in the last couple years, you have likely seen a huge offering of topics related to asset management (AM). While it may seem like the industry is hitting the topic too hard, there are plenty of good reasons to care. Where did all this start? In 2018, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other federal agencies formally implemented policies regarding the AM strategy established through MAP-21. FHWA specifically finalized implementation guidance on provisions of MAP-21, which requires a State DOT to develop and implement a risk-based AM plan. FHWA must now certify that an established Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) meets applicable requirements for asset inventory, condition assessment, AM objectives, performance metrics and monitoring system, performance gap analysis, life cycle and risk analysis, financial planning, and investment strategies. Per MAP-21, AM provisions apply to all infrastructure assets within a State DOT or local entity’s right-of-way which includes culverts, signs, traffic signals, lighting, ITS equipment, pavement markings, curb/gutter, sidewalks, multimodal facilities, and rest areas. And with other federal agencies instituting similar guidance documents, a public agency’s AM responsibilities realistically extend to water, wastewater, MEP, aviation, facility, parks, and other asset infrastructure. In 2021, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) which rolled out a large plan to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure and includes AM requirements for public agencies to be eligible for federal formula and discretionary funds. As entities are looking to secure federal money to support project implementation, it would be prudent to have an AM strategy in place. Beyond the ability to win grant funds, there’s financial incentive within each organization to plan well and spend efficiently. Although the BIL invests hundreds of billions in national infrastructure over five years, a national “infrastructure investment gap” of nearly $2.6 trillion still exists over the next decade. The American Society of Civil Engineers annual infrastructure grade card assessing the current state of national infrastructure continues to hover between a D+ and C-. This assessment has remained consistent for years and points to an overall truth – “the challenge of our generation of engineers is not expansion but maintenance.” If your municipality wants to win grant funds and avoid a nightmarish backlog of maintenance and replacement work on your infrastructure assets, here are some basics to focus on: • DATA COLLECTION – Accurate, relevant and current data is the foundation of AM decision making. Inventory data includes information on location, geometrics, site characteristics, risk evaluations and existing condition evaluations and should be supplemented as new assets are added or removed from the network. Stay up to date! • LIFE CYCLE MANAGEMENT – Life Cycle Management involves multiple steps necessary to maximize the functional service life of a given asset and includes deterioration modeling, preventative maintenance and inspections, reactive maintenance, conditionbased rehabilitations, and inspections. Remember! Replacement of the asset is unavoidable, but effective life cycle management can push out the need for replacement through extended service life. • CAPITAL PLANNING – Capital planning integrates AM principles and is data-driven, transparent and defendable. It includes asset reporting and analytics, program development, trade-off analysis, risk modeling, and planning scenarios. Make sure your 10-year CIP is well informed! Your residents and elected officials will thank you. • MAINTENANCE STRATEGY – A good maintenance strategy includes incorporation of AM condition data, accountability and tracking procedures, and assessment of work actions. The strategy can be solely condition based or it can consider secondary and tertiary screening criteria to further help an agency prioritize its work. The goal is to be proactive in your approach! The short story: a good asset management strategy is worth its weight in gold.