Highway Trust Fund battle deepens...
Pickup truck recalls expand...
And Volvo Construction bolsters its U.S. position...
That and more on Construction News Tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has notified all state DOTs that effective next month his agency will stop sending out regular reimbursement checks for projects underway or approved, instead reverting to a pay as you go plan when gas tax funds become available. Foxx has insisted that the trust fund is nearly exhausted, and when it falls below a $4 billion threshold that's when the new reimbursement plan will take effect.
For many states it could mean a complete shutdown of infrastructure projects or a significant cutback directly impacting thousands of construction jobs.
ARTBA - the American Road and Transportation Builders Association - has instituted a complete website for interested parties to use to influence members of Congress on the pending crisis. You can find it at tmaw.org.
The House has all but shutdown any idea to hike the gas tax, which has not been raised since 1993, while the Senate has reached a deal to pay for the shortfall that faces the present debacle through the midterm November election cycle and the balance of 2014.
The June 2014 unemployment picture has shaped up as glowing. A gain of 288,000 jobs - 6,000 of them in construction - dropped the monthly rate to 6.1%, the best since September 2008 and adding up to 1.4 million jobs added this year.
Calling on GM and Ford new pickup owners... Both companies have issued recalls in the past weeks.
For GM, 428,000 2014-2015 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierras, Tahoes and suburbans, and 2015 Yukon vehicles are tagged. GM says the transfer case control mode software needs to be recalibrated as some have tended to slip from drive to neutral. This includes vehicles sold in Canada as well.
Meanwhile, Ford's recall is significantly smaller. Some 5,600 2014 F-150 pickups are under this notice to repair an incorrectly installed sensor magnet on the electronic power assist steering gear. This is a serious issue, and Ford has told dealers not to sell any more until corrections are made.
For Further information contact each company's website or talk to your dealer.
Amid the rolling hills of southeast Pennsylvania lies the new Volvo Construction Equipment customer center and manufacturing complex. Outside the town of Shippensburg the international company has planted its home for North America. A dedication ceremony was held recently, and we were there. We took the occasion to talk with the Volvo CE North America's president Goran Lindgren.
The $100 million facility is state of the art and designed to give customers and dealers support, training and information on company machines in the 20,000-square-foot building and demo area, including a test track and other features, which was built on the 40 acre tract in just six months.
Volvo employs about 1,000 at the plant that builds 50 models of construction equipment ranging from wheel loaders, compactors, graders and articulated haulers.
Updating recent statistics, AGC is reporting that construction firms added jobs in 218 or 339 metro areas over the past year, while 30 states saw progress between April and May of 2014.
The best job gains were in the Dallas-Plano, Texas, area as well as St. Cloud, Minn.
Most severe job losses came in a diverse area: Bethesda-Rockville, Md.; Gary, Ind.; and Cheyenne, Wyo.
Meanwhile, Reed Construction Data reports total construction spending continues to inch forward with new residential construction leading the way at 1.4% to $234 billion in April; 31 straight months of gains for the seasonally adusted rate; non-seasonally adjusted spending grew by 8.9% from the previous year.
An interesting report out of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies claims all those young adult millennials now living with their parents are about to move on. The Harvard study says over the next 10 years this population segment will make up 24 million new households nationwide and transform the housing market as we know it.
A litany of named contractors have begun work on a multi-billion dollar gas craker plant for Exxon Mobil near Baytown, Texas. Mitsui Engineering and Heavy Industries, Bechtel and Linde are involved in construction of the complex that will turn shale derived natural gas into plastics and other materials. Ten thousand construction workers will be needed before completion in 2017.
In closing, if you observe all the rules of life chances are you'll overlook most of its opportunities.