[VIDEO] Construction Groups Urge Trump to Buck Republicans on Road Spending

President-elect Trump's trillion dollar infrastructure plan varies from the Republican Party's base of less spending; plus more construction industry news on the January 5, 2017, edition of Construction News Tracker

Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com

President-elect Donald Trump maintained throughout his campaign that he wanted to spend one trillion dollars on infrastructure, but the reality of that position is it smacks right up against the long standing position of the Republican Party base of less spending small government. Congressional leaders are tamping down expectations of big money expenditures, instead offering talk of a possible federal tax credit program to generate public private sector spending or repatriation of corporate money now parked overseas. AGC leaders say they’re worried over the mixed signals on the issue. Other trade associations such as AARTBA and AASHTO are urging members to lean on congressional representatives in their home districts to engage the topic of necessary infrastructure funding going forward in hopes of getting the president-elect;s ear on the topic.

2016 was a mixed bag for construction. The latest numbers show over 211 metro areas saw employment increase between November 2015 and 2016, the lowest statistic in four years. However, the total number of workers at 6.7 million registered in November was the highest number in eight years according to AGC economists. Residential construction added nearly 209,000 jobs in November, said Ken Simonson, and yearly a 4.8% increase. As for the losses, AGC officials who compile the stats say much of it can be attributed to the continuing nationwide struggle with worker shortages.

New Commerce Department numbers show the nation's home building sales in November rose 5.2% from October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 592,000 — the highest rate since 2008 — and 16.5% above that of 2015.

According to Dodge Data, the value of project starts dropped 6% in November from the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 638.3 billion — thats a three month decline. In fact, all three tracks followed by Dodge saw fewer November starts — residential, nonresidential and non building. What saved 2016 for the year was the value of the year to date starts for January to November was unchanged at 627.2 billion. Just removing the volitile electric utility, natural gas plant category from calculations and the year start through November would have gained 3% from 2015. The retreat caused the Dodge Index to drop to 135.

Not to be outdone, the Architecture Billings Index has also dropped slipping slightly in November to 50.6, which is a virtual unchange to October. The Index follows the shape of future construction spending with a lead time of nine to 12 months for new projects on the drawing boards. Good news, as the multifamily residential index maintains the highest score of 51.7, mixed practice at 51.3 and commercial industrial at 50.4 with institutional at 49.5. Any score of 50 signals a bump in billings. The architecture economists remain bullish for all of 2017 construction.

Clayton, NC, is the site of a planned pharmaceutical plant for Novo Nordisk diabetes work. Flour Corporation has been awarded the $1.2 billion contract to engineer design and build the project. The drug facility will contain 830,000 square feet to accommodate 700 employess when finished in 2020. For construction, 2,500 workers are expected to be hired to work on the Novo Nordisk plant — the largest life sciences investment in North Carolina.

Motorists traveling Colorado's highways have been enjoying unique road signs for sometime now, as theyre nearly impossible to miss. Silly, sobering and sometimes sarcastic, such as "Anger leads to danger,” "Give thanks for safe drivers” or ”It's not a number, it's a person”. The idea is to reduce the state’s highway death toll by lowering the accident rate. Colorado Safety Communications Director Sam Cole is the culprit behind the clever slogans.

Much newer and up-to-date than anything that ever came out of Burma Shave, the road sign people of bygone years, the real zingers are these slogans: "Don’t text distracted...squirrel", "Tech a break" and "Oh cell no". Cole and cohorts at Colorado DOT are getting kudos for the signs, as drivers and passengers alike commend them on their ingenuity.

World of concrete 2017 is set to begin January 17th. We urge you to obtain your registration as soon as possible so you can enjoy all the conference such as seminars about new and improved industry practices, countless exhibits and equipment displays, at the Las Vegas Convention center as well as the many entertainment venues Las Vegas itself has to offer.

Finally, a good follow-through is just as important in management as it is in bowling, tennis or golf. Follow-through is the bridge between good planning and good results.

This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place. Presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com. 

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