Paid leave ordered for federal contract workers...
Construction spending on a tear...
And the highway funding push on new roll...
That and more on Construction News Tracker presented by Caterpillar.
President Obama took executive power on Labor Day as he signed a document that requires all federal contractors to pay sick leave.
Under the presidential order those working on federal contractors would be eligible for one hour's paid leave for every 30 hours worked — amounting to one week a year. There is no estimate on the cost of the action. It does not take effect until 2017.
The seasonally adjusted rate for construction spending hit $1.08 trillion in July — the highest in seven years. The numbers come from the U.S. Commerce Department which points to strong interest in housing and commercial building and moves the overall level to a 13.7% growth over the past year.
Meanwhile, on the labor side construction added a meager 3,000 jobs in August, lower than economists had predicted. The total unemployment rate, though, dropped to 5.1%, and the industry continues to suffer hiring woes in finding experienced qualified workers.
With six weeks remaining to the deadline for the latest extension of the highway funding bill, lawmakers are again being pressured to find a solution to the seemingly never ending saga. Construction as a whole wants a long-term measure to curb the fits and starts of stop gap actions, of which there have been 34.
ARTBA, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, in a new study claims transportation generates $510 billion in U.S. economic activity and, in turn, accounts for 1.6% of the total gross domestic product. ARTBA is one of many industry oriented groups that has produced materials hoping to apply pressure on Congress.
Recall our special On the Road report last spring when we visited Arkansas after that state pulled its contract bid letting. State AGC Director Richard Hedgecock says Arkansas DOT will set out bids next month for 27 road and bridge projects in the state. In addition, they have asked the governor for $36 million to pay for 49 resurfacing projects cut earlier and may proceed with more in following months as it appears states will be repaid by the U.S. DOT. The initial cuts stemmed from the lack of federal DOT reimbursement dollars tied to the political fallout in Congress.
Revisiting the Veterans Administration hospital building debacle, the latest news comes from the Army Corps of Engineers. That agency has been finding solutions to massive overruns of construction spending.
The report centers on the Denver hospital project, though there are others, and attributed to an integrated design and construction method unique to VA officials. The IDC Method sought early selection of a design contractor, but the VA hired its own long before Kiewit Turner came aboard as general contractor then sued for breach and walked away last December.
The report concludes the massive hospital project never should have been controlled from Washington and still needs $625 million in taxpayer monty to complete the job now three years overdue.
There may be some skepticism on the part of Florida DOT workers in the next few months as the first driverless vehicle to be used on a U.S. highway will not be a car but a truck used on construction sites.
It's the work of Royal Truck and Equipment of Pennsylvania. The firm has sold its first driverless truck for the Florida agency. It's fitted with special attenuators and designed as a rolling crash barrier. The focus is on work zone safety, and as you know, barrier trucks are also the target of wayward motorists.
In closing, the light at the end of a tunnel is usually a no exit sign.
This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place. Presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.