“I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House…with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

- John F. Kennedy, “Remarks at a Dinner Honoring Nobel Prize Winners at the White House” April 29, 1962

President Kennedy was greeting 49 winners of the Nobel Prize in a bouquet of categories from literature to chemistry and even peace, and that one impromptu sentence praised the power of knowledge and the place of honor he felt was due to those who worked to gain that precious commodity.

One of the Southern California Contractors Association’s (SCCA) primary goals is to provide members with the opportunity to acquire knowledge, useful to both their business and personal lives. A recent example of this effort included the insight and solid market information provided by Dr. John Husing at our January membership meeting.

The May membership meeting will feature a panel from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO), which controls virtually all local road, bus and light rail construction in Los Angeles County. The METRO meeting illustrates an odd thing about knowledge – it often provides opportunity – especially when shared.

We invited METRO to share plans and issues regarding the increase in transportation construction provided through the passage of Measure M in 2016, which provides billions in new funding, both through local sales taxes and matching funds from state and federal sources.

They asked us to help create a group of SCCA members and other construction industry professionals to work with the agency to make sure the projects will stay on track. METRO wants to avoid the Law of Large Projects – “Every huge job comes in over budget and over completion deadlines.”

Large California Examples:

  • Oakland Bay Bridge, over budget by roughly $5 billion and over completion estimates by six years ƒ
  • California’s High-Speed Rail project that is so far behind that Governor Newsom is asking to complete the work under way (from Merced to Shafter), abandoning for now, the LA to San Francisco plan. Cost estimates for this reduced scope are $10 billion against the original bids of about $2.25 billion ƒ
  • Gerald Desmond replacement bridge linking Long Beach to San Pedro (only three years behind schedule and a mere 53 percent over budget, so far).

We’re hoping you will join in the METRO effort, starting with our May 8 meeting at the Monterey Hill special events venue, 3700 Ramona Blvd, Monterey Park. See you there!

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