Construction News Tracker Video: Congress Passes $12.3 Billion Water Bill

Light in the lawmaking tunnel...

EPA poised to unleash major anti pollution rules...

And keeping schools protected from storms...

That and more on Construction News Tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com

In a rare showing of bi-partisanship, both houses of Congress have passed a $12.3 billion water bill - a small glimmer of light in a long legislative tunnel. By a vote of 412-4 in the House and 91-7 in the Senate, the WRRDA bill fleshes out new water infrastructure projects nationwide, mainly creating larger ports along our coastlines to accommodate the expanded cargo ships now being built - which translates to thousands of future construction jobs.

Water Resources Reform & Development Act Waiting for President's Signature

As the days dwindle down it's crunch time for the Highway Transportation Fund. The Federal DOT prefers to keep a minimum $4 billion to manage transactions, and the latest estimate is that the level will be reached by July 25th. Even though August 29th is projected for the entire balance to be gone, reauthorization is needed by the end of September otherwise every national infrastructure project will stop.

With that in mind, Arkansas DOT has announced it has pulled 10 projects off its bid letting ledger for April 2015 because it has no confidence of the $60 million to pay for them.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Senate Environmental and Public Works committee passed its version of a Highway Bill in a six year plan to keep current funding plus inflation. Spearheaded by a four member team they say they intend to see a fully funded infrastructure bill come to fruition. The measure awaits full Senate approval plus actual funding by the various appropriations committees.

It must be springtime because a surge in multifamily housing construction is underway. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports total housing production jumped 13.2% in April pushed by an increase in multifamily housing construction of 39.6% while single family housing holds its own.

Expect the Environmental Protection Agency to roll out its carbon crackdown measure any day. The signature anti pollution measure from the administration is expected to begin a death knell for coal fired power plants and significantly expand on the use of solar and wind energy production efforts but a potential boon for the construction industry down the road.

Video: Senator Boxer and Colleagues Make Major Announcement on Transportation Reauthorization Bill

A Salt Lake City architectural firm has come up with a way to protect people during devastating natural events. Leland Gray Architects has adapted a concrete thin shell structural idea into a domed building it claims is virtually indestructible. Schools, churches, arenas and any facility used for large gatherings can be utilized. It's an air formed thin shell concrete dome formed with PVC material inflated by air, then sprayed with a urethane substance.s already been used in Utah and other states, is relatively inexpensive and cuts utility costs as well.

This is a story for coffee breaks and water coolers. The category: anything is possible, even a high speed railway linking the U.S. with China. You heard right. It would begin in northeast China, run through Siberia, then in a 125 mile undersea tunnel under the Pacific, through Alaska and Canada. China is said to be in talks with the Russian Government about the 8,000 mile route. The Bering Strait tunnel would be a challenge - four times the length of the channel tunnel that links England and France.

We want to make note of an important upcoming event. The Transportation Construction Coalition fly-in and rally for roads June 10-11 in Washington D.C. With the need to garner votes for re-authorization of the Highway Funding Bill paramount, all of our support is needed. ForConstructionPros and Construction News Tracker will be there. We hope you will be, too.

Finally, the cost of living hasn't effected its popularity.

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