"I have worked with David in fast tracking many projects over the past 5+ years. David is instrumental in keeping projects moving forward. The Van Buren Interchange project on Interstate 215 was a complex multi-million dollar project that went from planning to construction in record time. David motivates the team to find ways to overcome seemingly insurmountable problems and maintains a positive relationship with the decision makers." – Patricia Romo, Riverside County Transportation Department, Deputy Director
"We hired The Tait Group when we had reached an impasse working with Caltrans on a storm drain project that was part of the reclamation of a sand and gravel mining site in San Diego. Because of specifics of the property, and this being a mining site, the typical process for obtaining an encroachment permit from Caltrans did not apply. By ourselves we did not know how to progress further, so we hired David Tait. After we hired David, we were able to contact the right people and develop a plan of action so that we could obtain the encroachment permit that we needed in order for our project to progress. The process took a considerable amount of time, but throughout that time David stayed engaged with Caltrans and made sure we stayed on track. Based on this experience, we would definitely use David's services on any future project that involved Caltrans, and next time we would bring him on board much earlier."–
Robert Kuhn, Manager of Design for Vulcan Material Company
“I hired The Tait Group to lead a project delivery team for a complex intersection and road widening project that absolutely had to be completed prior to the opening of a major resort casino project in Southern California. The project required coordination and approvals from both the County of San Diego and Caltrans to complete. It was critical that the project be delivered in record time. Due to David’s leadership, experience and connections, we were able to establish a clear strategy and receive the joint agency cooperation we required resulting in the reduction of project delivery time by approximately half of what it would have normally taken. Based on this experience, I would highly recommend David Tait and The Tait Group to anyone that demands extraordinary results.” – Nelson Parker, Vice President of Development, Foxwoods Development Company
“Great work staying on top of everyone; without your help we never would have got the $10 million in TCIF bond funds approved by the CTC. Thank you.” – John Schaefer, Project Manager, LNR Property Corporation
“David Tait of the Tait Group is the "Caltrans issues" consultant that I mentioned to you. He definitely could likely help trim months and potentially years off your interchange timing. I found him to be excellent at his work; among the top 5% of individual consultants that I have ever encountered. From obtaining Caltrans Encroachment permits to leading a project team of design consultants, local agencies staff and Caltrans bureaucrats on complex freeway improvements, David has the unique combination of skills, contacts, and ability to expedite processes through Caltrans. He has great contacts at nearly every Caltrans District office and the Sacramento HQ. He also is able to help with tracking funding sources which is becoming even more important these days. Whenever we assumed our engineer or project manager could navigate the Caltrans bureaucracy well enough, we quickly learned that it paid dividends to hire David for the task. I highly recommend him.” – Michael Morris, Vice President, LNR Property Corp.
“Thank you. Good news! Thanks to you, we got our permit today. I appreciated your advocacy on our behalf over these past months David.” – Joe Ham, Partner, Jeffrey Homes/Hemet 55, LLC
“Peninsula Retail Partners has developed shopping centers throughout California and has over 60 collective years experience in Retail Development. We were very pleased with the work The Tait Group performed for our project in Fontana,California. As a consultant and advocate, they were instrumental in obtaining a Cooperative Agreement between CalTrans and the City of Fontana so we could proceed with improvements to a frontage road soon to be in City control. This strategy eliminated the need for PRP to obtain an encroachment permit from CalTrans. The Tait Group was prompt and professional when representing our company and helped save us money and time on costly permits. David Tait and his staff also provided helpful advice when purchasing land directly from CalTrans. The Tait Group was an asset to our project and look forward to working with them again in the future.” – Greg Lukosky, Partner, Peninsula Retail Partners, LLC
“I want to thank you for your assistance and support with the PSR/PR phase of the SR78 interchange project. You really helped in keeping the project moving and in the approval of the project. Without you, we still may be seeking signatures” – John Komaru, PE, TE, Parsons Brinckerhoff
“I want to thank you for your continued assistance in expediting the processing of the two subject bridges through CalTrans and the City of Murrieta. Your assistance is invaluable in helping us keep both the City and CalTrans focused on a delivery schedule both have previously told us was impossible to attain. Your insight into the process, focus on the result and nice manner in approaching the bureaucrats is extremely important to getting these two bridges open as soon as possible. The MOU between us and the City and now between the City and CalTrans works well in documenting the mutual goals, process and understandings.” – Allan Davis, President, Retail Development Advisors Corp.
“You absolutely made a difference! You got things rolling and then kept it moving. Your help was greatly appreciated.” –Russ Nelson, Construction Manager, Regency Centers, Inc.
“This is the best Project Development Team I’ve worked on to date. I thought you did an excellent job facilitating the meetings. I also want to recognize you for your efforts in keeping the team focused and motivated and giving us support and leadership. I really appreciated your very supportive comments on my efforts.” – Daniel P. Gallagher, Associate Environmental Planner, Caltrans District 11, San Diego
“You have been doing a great job for us and I appreciate it.” – Alan Ball, Qualcomm Inc.
“We have been very impressed and satisfied with David's performance throughout the PSR/PR process. His firm brought to our team the experience and familiarity with the process needed to maximize our effectiveness and minimize the processing time. David’s professionalism, responsiveness and management skills were very much an asset to the team, and he was able to help deliver the project to its final design phase in a timely manner, as he had initially proposed to the City. We commend David for his excellent performance, and we would recommend his services to any entity, public or private, seeking similar assistance.” – Paul Vo, PE, Principal Civil Engineer, City of San Marcos
“As for the expediter David Tait, had it not been for him, the permit would still not be in hand. Thus he was absolutely necessary for the project to get it to this point in this time frame.” – Frank Coda, Principal, Greenberg Farrow
“Through our engineering firm, I was introduced to The Tait Group. Within several hours of outlining the problem to David, he had arranged a conference call with the senior CalTrans representative for the District. The result of the call was that a letter was written later that same evening by CalTrans approving our plans! This allowed our Map to subsequently be approved by the County. Needless to say, I was amazed at how quickly the problem was dealt with as soon as David became involved. Obviously he has the ear and respect of CalTrans, and is able to navigate the bureaucratic quagmire that it is. I cannot say enough good things about David and his firm. I would encourage anyone that must deal with CalTrans to engage The Tait Group to eliminate the nightmare that we had to endure. Thanks, David” – Jeffrey John Gordon, President, Messenger Group of Companies
“I thank you for staying on us through the process as it serves to make things go well.” – Kome Ajise, Director, Caltrans District 10, Stockton
“I truly appreciate your time and input regarding the completion of State Route 52 and the Forester Creek Flood Control Project, both of which are critical to the future development of Santee. Thanks to your continued support, the completion of State Route 52 will become a reality.” – Randy Voepel, Mayor, City of Santee
“With the assistance of The Tait Group, Inc. we received our permit within six months, and David Tait’s management of the scope change likely saved us two months alone. Once David joined our project team he made an immediate impact. From the beginning, he held everyone in the project accountable for their tasks and deadlines. David’s access to Caltrans personnel, from permit engineers to directors, accelerates the review process. While David’s contacts within Caltrans are an asset, his engineering background and understanding of the Caltrans process bring great value as well. He understands engineering and Caltrans terminology and is willing to challenge the engineers and advocate a developer’s position to save time and reduce costs. The Tait Group, Inc. successfully advocated our project through the District 4 permit process. If you are proposing a project in Caltrans jurisdiction and are under time constraints or if your team lacks experience with Caltrans or lacks contacts within the Caltrans permit process or with Caltrans staff and management, you will benefit from adding The Tait Group, Inc. to your project team.” – Kirk Khasigian,
Development Manager, Panattoni Development Company
“He is the best when it comes to Caltrans issues.” – Gregory S. George, Real Estate Manager, Home Depot
“You are doing a fine job dogging this permit application. Keep up the energy. Thanks.” – Michael Napolitano, Site Development Manager, Greenberg Farrow
“Getting all Project Approval/Environmental Document (PA/ED) approval signatures from Caltrans management is fantastic news. You have done an excellent job getting this pushed along. Everyone on the project certainly appreciates everything you have done. GREAT WORK!” – John Schaefer, Project Manager, LNR Property Corporation
“A huge ‘thank you’ to all of the hardworking folks at Caltrans and Dokken Engineering and David Tait for making this happen. I’m not sure of this is a record for a non-emergency design delivery, but it is in my book. It is certainly a fine example of teamwork.” –Mike Edwards, City Engineer, City of San Marcos
"Moving fast: Uncorking the county's worst bottleneck"
Funding possible in January for fast-tracked solution to Route 78 congestion
By Robert J Hawkins
10:57 a.m., Dec. 13, 2010, San Diego Tribune
County’s No. 1 bottleneck
It took a mere six months — rather than the usual three years — and $3.5 million for San Marcos to create a “shovel-ready” solution for the worst traffic bottleneck in the county.
And now the city must wait to learn the fate of the $10.5 million needed to finish the job.
It was in February that the eastbound off-ramp from state Route 78 to Barham Drive in San Marcos was crowned the No. 1 bottleneck in the county, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune’s annual survey.
The back-up averages four miles in length during rush hour and consumes 300,000 hours a year in delays. The traffic at this location was backed up during 243 days in 2009 — virtually every working day.
The news shocked no one. The Barham Drive exit had been climbing steadily up the annual list for several years. “Obviously, we were aware of the bottleneck,” said city engineer Mike Edwards. “It was frustrating.”
The city’s engineering team was already testing the financial waters of the state and the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, through which all county transportation funding is channeled.
The half-mile eastbound section of SR-78 between Barham Drive and Nordhal Road was in desperate need of a relief valve — an auxiliary lane that would reduce weaving traffic between exits, Edwards said.
“While doing that, the U-T article came out,” he adds. “It was timely.”
The problem got the attention of key decision makers at Caltrans and SANDAG, who sat down with Edwards and San Marcos officials and made some key promises:
• If San Marcos could get together a ready-to-build solution to the bottleneck in six months, SANDAG Executive DirectorGary Gallegos vowed to fight for the funding he knew was coming available from the federal government.
• And if San Marcos took the lead and assumed the $3.5 million development costs, local Caltrans Director Laurie Berman, who overseesSan Diego and Imperial counties, promised full cooperation.
“San Marcos is pretty entrepreneurial,” Edwards said. “Quick on its feet to get things done.”
Even so, designing an extra half-mile lane of freeway, with on- and off-ramps and a bridge widening, and crossing over a railroad track used by three operators — that’s an audacious undertaking in six months’ time. It’s the kind of fast-tracking reserved for projects in the class of disaster recovery.
In the end, as many as 75 people played roles, large and small, from the city’s engineering staff of 20 to the contractor Dokken Engineering to Caltrans staff in meeting the deadline.
A key decision was to bring in a “whip,” project advocate David Tait, of the Sacramento-based Tait Group. Tait’s job was to keep the project on schedule and keep the players focused on their jobs. That’s his specialty.
“Normally, he keeps a two-to-three-year project from becoming a four-to-five-year project,” said Edwards.
He very good at breaking through bureaucratic bottlenecks. “If calls had to be made, he’s the guy who did that,” Edwards said.
In another key move, Caltrans project manager Ed Hajj moved major steps through the regulatory mill on parallel tracks — environmental, design, right of way, engineering approvals — shaving years off the process.
“Normally,” Edwards explained, “Caltrans has a lot of head-to-tail processes. In other words, you must complete A before moving on to B then moving to C.”
In the midst of all this, the source of funding shifted. The funds that once seemed within reach dissipated. But Gallegos has lined up a new source for the $10.5 million needed to complete the job.
That money and the application now rest with the California Transportation Commission, which meets monthly to award contracts and disburse funds for transportation projects across the state. They next meet Jan. 16-17.
Although it is almost like being the new guy on an organ donor list, Edwards is “cautiously optimistic.” There are other projects that have been on the list longer. But are they in as critical a state as the No. 1 bottleneck in San Diego County?
“We’re on pins and needles,” Edwards said.