JEFFERSON CITY - Looking for new ways to protect the environment, the Missouri Department of Transportation is testing a concept to entice contractors to get green by giving some green.
Under its pilot green incentive program, MoDOT will assign a "green credit" goal for the contractor and appoint "green credit" values for the use of various environmentally friendly practices such as recycling, reducing pollution and using alternative fuels. For meeting or exceeding the goal, the contractor will earn an award. There are three award levels all appropriately named for some of Missouri's better-known natural icons.
For example, a contractor who meets the green credit goal receives a Redbud award worth a $5,000 bonus. If the goal is exceeded by five green credits, a contractor earns a Hawthorn award worth a $10,000 bonus. Exceeding the goal by 10 green credits earns a contractor a Dogwood award worth a $15,000 bonus.
On the other hand, a contractor who doesn't meet its green credit goal will be charged damages in the amount of $2,500 per credit it fell short.
"MoDOT works hard to be a good steward of the environment, and we want to get our contracting partners on board with us," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "We can't wait to see the great ideas these companies will come up with to create green highways and, in the process, promote cleaner air, recycle a greater amount of materials, better use our natural resources and reduce greenhouse gases."
Niall Jansson, a resident engineer who will oversee the Interstate 270/Dorsett/Page project in St. Louis, took the lead to develop the incentive system to encourage contractors to use green methods and materials on this and eventually other highway construction projects. As a result, MoDOT is including a provision in the St. Louis project's contract that will require the winning contractor to include a number of earth-friendly construction practices.
The special provision is based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, rating system that provides environmental construction standards for the commercial building industry.
"Providing market-based incentives is a great way to demonstrate how serious we are about encouraging the use of environmentally friendly practices," Rahn said. "It is a commonsense approach toward building an environmentally sound transportation system."