[VIDEO] Trump Highway Plan Hinges on Private Money, Tax Reform

Private funding or P3s would be in addition to $200 billion in taxpayer funding as part of a long-term revenue fix for the Highway Trust Fund; plus more construction industry news on the May 25, 2017, edition of Construction News Tracker

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

Private funding or public private partnerships is the preferred way forward in paying for infrastructure projects by the Trump Administration. That statement recently from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chou. The funding process would be in addition to $200 billion in taxpayer funding. Proposed tax reform legislation by the Trump Administration and the Congress is reportedly going to focus on a long-term revenue fix for the Highway Trust Fund. The initiative touts the fact that in the 2015 passage of the FAST Act $70 billion was placed in the Trust Fund to cover projected gaps in tax receipts from funding levels. Coupled with the fact the FAST Act has only 2.5 years of life remaining there's a need to re-impose similar mandates to keep the level needed for surface transportation investment. As of this date some 500 proposals for national infrastructure projects has been offered up from various entities.

Trump Lays Out $1T Infrastructure Vision in Budget Request

A July 1st filing deadline imposed by OSHA on electronic filing of workplace injuries has been suspended. It follows a lawsuit by the National Association of Home Builders claiming the action is bureaucratic overreach and a violation of business rights. The rule was meant to cover firms with more than 20 employees to submit for public scrutiny all reports of worker related injury.

A minimum of $50 billion worth of energy projects nationwide stand idle for lack of bureaucratic approval. That's due to the fact the Trump Administration has yet to make key appointments to FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Unable to meet a quorum, its the first time in the 40 years of FERC history the agency has been deadlocked on applications awaiting approval. Among them is the $2 billion Nexus pipeline.

Construction material prices rose seven-tenths of a percent between March and April notching five months of straight growth according to a Labor Bureau review by AGC. Year-over-year the same prices jumped 4.3%. Energy prices are on the upswing following a March reduction as natural gas cost increased 25.1% in April, making for a 74.1% rise year over year. Fabricated metal products, iron and steel were the only pricing to see a decline for the month.

Manufacturing production nationwide recorded its biggest increase in over three years in April with the exception of home building. The Commerce Department claims housing starts dropped 2.6% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.17 million units, the lowest in five months as multifamily declined, against economic forecasts. Year-over-year homebuilding rose seven-tenths of a percent in April.

If you have a Dodge Ram pickup truck expect to receive notice from Chrysler Fiat of a recall for faulty software. 2013-16 models 1500 and 2500 along with 2014-16 3500 models contain a glitch that could prevent side air bags and seatbelts from deploying in the event of a rollover crash. The recall affects nearly a million vehicles in the U.S. and over 200,000 in Canada.

Heavy equipment sharing and management tech startup Yard Club has been purchased by Caterpillar. The company invested in the entity two years ago, and jointly has been working in its dealer network to help them sell and rent equipment. In 2016, Yard Club handled 120 million in transactions representing 2,500 contractors and rental companies for the so called air bnb of the construction industry. Employees will become part of the Cat network based in San Francisco.

All the calculations and computations have been completed and the final result from CONEXPO 2017 is a resounding 128,000 of you attended the event last March in Las Vegas. The Associaton of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), which owns the show, reports 2,800 exhibitors covered 2.8 million square feet of convention center space during the four-day run held every three years.

A  45-day job and traffic is running again on a destroyed section of I-85 near downtown Atlanta. A fire of undetermined origin caused two sections of the elevated highway to collapse March 30th. Construction was begun as soon as the site cooled and contractor C.W. Mathews could get crews on top of it. 505,000 pounds of steel and 2,100 cubic yards of concrete were pored and cured in record time along with removal of 13 million pounds of debris. The Federal DOT will pick up 90% of the $16.6 million rebuild contract for the I-85 structure that again has an estimated 250,000 vehicles using it daily. The Mathews company is poised to collect a $3.1 million bonus check for completing the roadway in record time.

In closing, a mistake should be your teacher, not your attacker. A mistake is a lesson, not a loss. It is a temporary, necessary detour, not a dead end.   

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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