States Commit $117 Billion to Transportation Construction Projects in 2012

State departments of transportation (DOTs) and local governments committed a little over $117 billion in funding for highway, bridge, transit, port and other transportation-related construction projects during 2012, according to new analysis of the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). 

ARTBA’s monthly report, “Value of Transportation Construction Put in Place,” was compiled by the association’s Chief Economist, Dr. Alison Premo Black.  Black notes that while this represents a 1 percent increase over the $116 billion committed in 2011, real transportation construction activity fell well short of its 2010 peak, when $129 billion worth of construction work was “put in place” during the year.    

Black’s analysis also finds the following changes in value of construction put in place by mode: 

 

  • Highway– Down 4.3 percent, to $45.9 billion in 2012, compared to $47.9 billion in 2011, this is the only mode that did not experience an increase in construction last year.  
  • Bridge – Up 4.5 percent, to $28.3 billion in 2012, compared to $27.1 billion in 2011.  The 2012 total was a record for bridge construction. It remains to be seen how long the upward trend can continue, but the market should get a short-term boost from repair work on bridges damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  
  • Airport Runway – Up 14.1 percent, to $4.8 billion in 2012, compared to $4.2 billion in 2011. The upward trend suggests that enactment of Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization legislation in February 2012 is beginning to have a positive impact on airport construction.    
  • Subway and Light Rail – Up 16.7 percent, to $6.6 billion in 2012, compared to $5.7 billion in 2011. Virtually all year, construction spending on transit projects exceeded the 2011 pace, including a 21 percent increase in December.  Enactment of MAP-21 should continue have to have a positive impact on this market.
  • Ports Up 10 percent, to $1.6 billion in 2012, compared to $1.5 billion in 2011, ports had a strong year in preparation for the expansion of the Panama Canal and the larger freight vessels it will most likely bring.
  • Railroad – Up 7.3 percent, to $10.3 billion in 2012, compared to $9.6 billion in 2011, private rail is benefiting from the growth of freight shipments, which generates a need for more maintenance.

 

In addition, ARTBA’s analysis found that transportation construction activity accounted for 13.8 percent of all construction work put in place in the U.S. during 2012.  This was down from 14.6 percent during 2011 and 15 percent in 2010.

To purchase the full report, or for more information, contact ARTBA’s Sarah Crane at 202-289-4434, or scrane@artba.org.

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