The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

March 5, 2014

Money managers | CamTran lauded for cutting construction costs

JOHNSTOWN — Credit the leaders of the Cambria County Transit Authority for knowing the value of a dollar.

They recently shaved $216,335 in construction costs from their nearly completed, $18 million headquarters that is under construction in the Woodvale section of Johnstown. But then, three change orders totaling $33,751 were subtracted from the cost trimming, resulting in a net savings of about $180,000.

Although the savings only amount to .01 percent of the total overall cost of the 82,000-square-foot facility, at least the leaders are constantly looking at the project’s bottom line.

“We were concerned about some costs that might be overrunning later, but we have not compromised the project one bit,” CamTran Chairman Ed Cernic Jr. told our Randy Griffith.

Among the “value engineering,” as Cernic phrased it, were the deletion of two vehicle lifts from the four that the building plans called for.

“We have two portable lifts we’re using now, so we’ll take them down there,” he said.

Another needless item that was scratched from the plans was a flagpole. Drawings called for three poles – one for the American flag, one for the state flag and the third for CamTran’s flag.

However, the transit authority does not have its own flag, and it wasn’t going to spend money to create one. So Cernic insisted that the third flagpole be removed.

Another smart move, we say.

The third money-saving change was the elimination of one of two entrance walkways “designed like the Taj Mahal,” the chairman said.

“As you go along with any kind of project, you find things that might make it more useful,” Cernic said. “That’s what we’ve done here.”

We applaud CamTran leaders for their judicious use of federal, state and county funding. They easily could have spent every penny allotted them and argued that they needed every shiny little bauble shown on the blueprints.

But in a time when greed is king, their conscience wouldn’t allow it.

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