POLICY FEATURES OF HIGHWAY CONTRACTS

A BRIEF REVIEW IS PRESENTED OF THE CLAUSES PRESCRIBED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION FOR CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS ON FEDERAL PROJECTS. THE AFFIRMATIVE USE OF THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACT AS A MEANS OF PURSUING NATIONAL POLICY OBJECTIVES IS REQUIRED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS IN THEIR PROVISIONS IN STATE CONTRACTS FOR FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION. THE MOST BASIC ECONOMIC POLICY CONSIDERATION IN PUBLIC CONTRACTS IS NOT CONTAINED IN THE REQUIRED PROVISIONS FOR FEDERAL-AID CONTRACTS BECAUSE IT CONCERNS THE METHOD OF ENTERING INTO THE CONTRACT. A BRIEF HISTORY IS REPORTED OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR COMPETITION CONTAINED IN THE U.S. CODE, THAT THE CONTRACT BE AWARDED TO THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BIDDER FOLLOWING PUBLIC ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS. THE FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT LABOR LAWS ARE A COMPLEX OF BOTH SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC OBJECTIVES WHICH STEM IN LARGE PART FROM THE CHAOTIC CONDITIONS WHICH PREVAILED IN BOTH THESE FIELDS IN THE LATE 1930'S. THE THREE ACTS ARE REVIEWED WITH WHICH THE FIELD OF FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY CONTRACTS ARE MOST CONCERNED: (1) THE DAVID-BACON ACT, WHICH HAS BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE HIGHWAY PROGRAM FOR ENFORCEMENT BY THE BUREAU BY SECTION 113 OF TITLE 23, U.S. CODE, (2) THE COPELAND ANTI-KICKBACK, AND (3) THE WORK HOURS ACT OF 1962. THE DAVIS-BACON ACT IS DESIGNED TO PRECLUDE THE UTILIZATION OF THE WAGES OF LABORERS AND MECHANICS AS AN ELEMENT IN THE COMPETITION FOR PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS BY REQUIRING THE PAYMENT OF MINIMUM WAGE RATES DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF LABOR TO BE PREVAILING IN THE AREA OF THE WORK OF EACH CLASSIFICATION OF LABOR. THE COPELAND ANTI-KICKBACK ACT PROVIDES THAT UNAUTHORIZED DEDUCTIONS OR THE EXACTION OF REBATES FROM THE WAGES PAID TO ANY PERSON EMPLOYED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC WORKS ARE CRIMINAL ACTS. THE WORK HOURS ACT OF 1962 ESTABLISHED A NEW REQUIREMENT FOR INCORPORATION INTO THE FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT. THIS ACT REQUIRES, UNDER A PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT SUBJECT TO THE ACT, THE PAYMENT OF TIME AND ONE-HALF TO A LABORER OR MECHANIC FOR ALL HOURS WORKED IN EXCESS OF EIGHT PER DAY OR FORTY PER WEEK. NONDISCRIMINATION IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONS IS AN EXAMPLE OF A NATIONAL SOCIAL OBJECTIVE ENFORCED THROUGH FEDERAL CONTRACTING PROCEDURES. FEDERAL STATUTORY, REGULATORY AND POLICY REQUIREMENTS MUST BE SUBMITTED TO BY THE CONTRACTOR IN ANY FEDERAL-AID CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT. THIS SEEMS WHOLLY JUSTIFIED IN TERMS OF THE OVERALL NATIONAL POLICY OBJECTIVES. IT IS ARGUED THAT THE ECONOMIC COERCION IMPOSED ON CONTRACTORS BY SUCH FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS INCREASES THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION SERVICES. HOWEVER, THERE ARE MANY EQUALIZING REQUIREMENTS WHICH ELIMINATE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST RESPONSIBLE AND ABLE BIDDERS AND WHICH ARE INTENDED TO AND DO PREVENT BROKERAGE OF CONTRACTS.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: pp 1-9
  • Monograph Title: Legal studies
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00238684
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: No. 274
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jul 28 1994 12:00AM