Sending Office: Honorable Jose E. Serrano
Current Original Cosponsors: Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Gonzalez Colon
Supporting Organization: the National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU)-NASHTU is comprised of 38 unions, including AFSCME, AFT Public Employees, CWA, IFPTE, and SEIU, from 20 states and represents hundreds of thousands
of state and local transportation department employees
I will be introducing the Safety, Efficiency, and Accountability in Transportation Projects Through Public Inspection Act of 2019 and invite you to become an original cosponsor. This bill would require public employees to perform the inspection and related
essential public functions on all state and local transportation projects. The bill is intended to ensure that public safety is protected, transportation funds are not wasted and projects are delivered in a timely manner.
On transportation projects, the construction inspector is the eyes, ears, and voice of the public. Inspectors ensure that construction and seismic standards are met, that projects meet safety requirements and that the materials used will stand the test of
time. In short, inspectors are there to ensure that the American people have safe roads.
When the construction inspection function is outsourced to a private company, there is no longer a representative of the public on the job site. In this circumstance, one private company is charged with the task of inspecting the work of another private
company. This creates multiple conflicts for the private inspector. First, the private inspectors’ primary obligation and responsibility is not to the public, but to the success and profitability of his company. Because the private construction company whose
work they are inspecting on one project may be a business partner on a future project, private inspectors are also may also feel pressure from the private contractor to take steps that ensure larger profits for both firms. I am concerned that these conflicts
have led some private inspectors to cut corners and overlook problems that threaten public safety, increase costs and delay projects.
There are many examples in which public safety has been threatened by the use of private inspectors, including Boston’s “Big Dig” (where a concrete slab from a tunnel ceiling fell and killed a woman), the L.A. Redline subway (Hollywood Blvd. collapsed),
the I-8/I-805 Interchange in San Diego (10,000 defective welds on a seismic retrofit), the Connecticut I-84 project (hundreds of drains that lead nowhere).
The deadline to sign on as an original cosponsor is COB on Wednesday, February 6th. If you have any questions or would like to be an original cosponsor of the bill, please contact Valentin Castillo of my staff at Valentin.Castillo@mail.house.gov or at (202)
José E. Serrano
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0