RIDOT Taking Steps to Innovate in Government, Improve Maintenance and Lower Costs
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced it is reorganizing personnel and purchasing equipment to enable the Department to use in-house forces to apply roadway pavement markings on 3,300 lane miles of state roads throughout Rhode Island. The striping crews and equipment will enable the Department to transition away from costly contracts for this service, with an estimated total savings of more than $20 million over the next 10 years.
RIDOT is able to establish an in-house pavement marking team using existing unfilled administrative positions and transferring them to the Department’s Highway and Bridge Maintenance Division. A total of 40 positions will be transferred to maintenance, and the first 10 of 20 staff positions dedicated to pavement marking applications have been advertised. The new striping rig will be used in conjunction with other support vehicles already being purchased to enable RIDOT to begin this work using in house forces in 2016. When these additional staff are not installing pavement markings, they will be available for other maintenance tasks including winter storm operations – further reducing RIDOT’s reliance on vendors for plowing and sanding.
“This is one in a large number of critical changes in the way RIDOT does business in order to allow us to provide a better service at a lower cost,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. “It will have the added benefit of reducing our administrative staff by the 40 positions (eliminating positions with titles such as “Photographer”). We need more people filling potholes than taking pictures of them.”
RIDOT performed a cost-benefit analysis comparing the current cost of out-sourced contracting for this work versus establishing an in-house pavement marking team. The analysis included consultation with other state DOTs, notably New Hampshire DOT, and a review of current contract costs and best practices in these states.
RIDOT divides Rhode Island into five maintenance regions – North, South, Central, East Bay and Limited Access Highways – and has a two-year pavement marking contract for each. The total cost of pavement marking contracts averages $6.8 million per year. The cost per year for equivalent in-house striping services would be approximately $4.8 million per year. When factoring in additional savings for winter operations of $2.5 million, the total savings to taxpayers by taking this action amounts to $22.1 million over 10 years.
“These steps further reduce RIDOT’s traditionally high administrative costs and puts more workers out on our roads with shovels and equipment in their hands maintaining and preserving the investment we will be making in a new infrastructure,” Alviti said.