Construction News Tracker Video: Federal Highway Funds to Run Dry Sooner than Expected

  • Critical focus on federal highway funds
  • Economic numbers improve for February
  • And a recap of the work truck show

That and more on construction news tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

The campaign for a long term federal highway and transit funding bill is beginning a full-court press. Advocates from all corners of American industry are beginning to coalesce efforts, apparently after house transportation committee chair Bill Schuster suggested construction industry organizations step aside lest they be misconstrued as looking for a government handout.

Within days, the Alliance for American Competitiveness has launched. Headed by Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman, the group includes heavyweights such as Honeywell, UPS, Burlington Northern railway and Dow chemical. Their message is centered around the need for first-rate transportation corridors in which to move goods and services, and having a bipartisan coalition assembled to push funding for infrastructure.

The MAP 21 funding bill expires in September, but federal funds to spend on surface transportation may be exhausted even sooner. The U.S. DOT’s Highway Trust Fund Ticker indicates the trust-fund balance that supports federal transportation spending may fall below $4 billion before the end of July. At that level, U.S. DOT may have to delay state payments, and no new construction projects will begin. More importantly, the highway account of the trust fund is expected to be empty in early September.

Highway Trust Fund Figures Show Earlier Shortfall

AASHTO, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, has unveiled a neat infographic intended to educate everyone about the potential impact of an insolvent Highway Trust Fund. We recommend you access and share it. The Nation at a Crossroads app can be found at Invest.transportation.org/app.

New Tool Educates Public, Elected Officials About Highway Trust Fund Crisis

Housing construction appears to be in a temporary lull, slowly emerging from the harsh winter weather over a large part of the nation. Just ask contractors how deep the frost layer is this year, and you’ll get an earful.

February Housing Starts Hold Steady, Permits Show Promise

The result from the national association of home builders is a holding pattern for most. Single-family housing was nearly flat in February, but building permits rose 7.7%. Meanwhile other economic segments show some growth, with February retail sales up three-tenths of a percent and unemployment benefit claims dropping.

A big segment of construction relies heavily on transportation and how it relates to their bottom line. Running alongside CONEXPO this year was the annual work truck show at Indianapolis, and we thought it would be beneficial to find out the highlights of the exhibition from Equipment Today editor Curt Bennink

?Video: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Takes Lead in Towing (and links to the rest of our Work Truck Show coverage)

A reminder from Pavement Maintenance & Reconstuction magazine to join its 2014 Top Contractors list. It’s a way to get you and your team recognized in categories of pavement repair, paving, sealcoating, striping, and sweeping. The list recognizes gross sales volume of 2013 in percentage for types of work accomplished. The online application can be found on this website – ForConstructionPros.com – and the deadline is April 30. If you have questions, go ahead and pester Allan Heydorn.

Pavement Lists the 2013 Top 50 Pavement Repair Contractors

Finally, artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

This is Construction News Tracker, watching out for the industry that makes the world a better place, brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

Reach us anytime at Facebook.com/ForConstructionPros, or at Twitter where we can be shared with friends or leave a comment at #constructionnews, as the streaming web never ends.

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