OFM guidance updates

Jan. 28, 2021 - WSDOT media statement

WSDOT received direction from the Office of Financial Management (pdf 168 kb) to lift the pause on projects scheduled to be advertised between January and April 2021 (pdf 160 kb).

This decision was made by OFM in coordination with the Governor’s Office and House and Senate transportation committee leadership. Going forward, the governor remains committed to funding WSDOT’s fish passage obligations and preservation needs, and will work with the legislature as they develop their 2021-23 transportation budget.

Jan. 18, 2021 – WSDOT media statement

Last week Secretary Millar shared with WSDOT staff and partners direction received by the Office of Financial Management (pdf, 187kb) to delay certain projects scheduled to be advertised between January 11 and April 30, 2021 for bids until the Governor and Legislature agree on a plan for the 2021-23 transportation budget. 

Delaying going to ad for these projects (pdf,160kb) gives the Governor and the Legislature more financial flexibility to determine how to address our significant transportation budget challenges during session. From a state budget perspective, this short-term action prevents WSDOT from obligating funds that ultimately makes transportation budget challenges harder to solve during legislative session.

Projects may be released for advertisement before April 30 if OFM and legislative leadership finalize a budget plan or determine risk associated with a project delay is too great. Also, projects scheduled for advertisement after April 30, 2021 may be delayed, giving further flexibility in budget discussions. This list (pdf,160kb) was pulled together by WSDOT staff in close coordination with OFM and the Governor’s Office and:

  • Applies to capital expansion construction projects only.
  • Does not include fish passage, preservation or safety projects. WSDOT will continue to move forward on these specific types of projects as the deadline for the federal court injunction related to fish passage is imminent and preservation and safety work are critical to the safe operation of our multimodal transportation system.
  • Does not affect contracts already under way.
  • Continues projects in the design phase.
  • While this action pauses the advertisement of contracts for bid, it does not stop other activity on those projects including planning, environmental, design, and right-of-way work needed to advance the projects to eventual construction.
  • Focuses on projects funded mostly with state dollars and mostly retains WSDOT’s schedule for projects spending primarily federal dollars. For WSDOT projects funded by federal dollars, it is important to note that federal fund sources have not decreased, those fund sources and their use are often provided for a specific purpose and cannot be redirected, and if paused, those fund sources could lapse.

These actions are in no way related to Initiative 976 and last year’s delay to construction projects not yet underway. Those projects re-started once the Governor and Legislature agreed on a budget during the 2020 legislative session.

Jan. 11, 2021 – WSDOT media statement

On Monday, Jan. 11, the Office of Financial Management directed WSDOT (pdf) to delay projects scheduled to be advertised for bids until the Governor and Legislature agree on a plan for the 2021-23 transportation budget. Going to advertisement is a step in the contracting process where WSDOT requests qualified contractors to bid for project work.

Specifically, this applies to capital expansion construction projects. Delaying going to ad for these projects gives the Governor and the Legislature more financial flexibility to determine how to address our transportation budget challenges during session.

This direction does not include fish passage, preservation or safety projects. WSDOT will continue to move forward on these specific types of projects as the deadline for the federal court injunction related to fish passage is imminent and preservation and safety work is critical to the safe operation of our multimodal transportation system.

WSDOT is coordinating closely with the Governor’s Office and the Office of Financial Management to determine what projects are affected by this direction. Together we will work to ensure that policy makers understand the tradeoffs as they determine the 2021-23 transportation budget.