The N.C. Department of Transportation is monitoring our spending very carefully to ensure we are remaining above the state-mandated minimum figure of about $300 million in our cash reserves. The hurricane, flood, snowstorm and landslide event expenditures in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually in recent years and the Map Act settlements of a similar amount have also been a major budget hit.
As part of that ongoing effort to allow us to continue with our more immediate scheduled projects and to respond to any new emergencies like Hurricane Dorian, it was decided to suspend preliminary engineering work on projects, effective Aug. 30, 2019. Preliminary engineering includes efforts to plan and design projects before construction can begin.
The suspension of preliminary engineering work does not apply to the schedule of any projects that are currently underway, that have already been awarded but have not started construction, are scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months, or that are funded by GARVEE bonds, BUILD NC bonds or Turnpike Bonds.
As we continue our budgeting efforts and as our cash balance stabilizes and begins to grow as we expect over the next several months because of these efforts, we expect to strategically resume that preliminary engineering work on the suspended projects, likely starting with the projects that have an earlier construction start date.