Construction News Tracker Video: Groups Try to Shine Light on Transportation Problems

ARTBA and other industry groups try to highlight the importance of transportation funding plus other construction industry news on the October 17, 2013 edition of Construction News Tracker

Housing recovery expands...

Gas tax anniversary comes and goes...

Toro unveils new underground machines at ICUEE...

And a Packerland bridge slumps...

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

Despite ongoing challenges, the U.S. housing market is poised to expand even further next year - this from the National Association of Home Builders. Housing continues to rise 2, 3 and even 4 times GDP as tight inventories by builders challenge the need for additional housing by a marketplace that slowly moves away from the last recession.

Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam

It's hard to believe that 20 years has passed since the Federal Gas Tax was raised to 18.4 cents a gallon, and in today's marketplace is far too low to handle the pressures of needed improvements.

ARTBA, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, tried to shine a light on the problem which was promptly extinguished by the government shutdown. Even the Laborers International Union got involved by sending duct tape to congressional offices as a means to say the U.S. can no longer bandage its way out of th emess unless there's a significant input of more feceral dollars. Regarding the shutdown and its effect on construction, ARTBA says there are 129 projects in 35 states awaiting EPA environmental review now delayed as a result.

The transportation research group TRIP in a new report claims urban motorists spend upwards of $800 more annually to repair vehicles damaged by lousy road surfaces. Citing 27% of all roads with substandard conditions, TRIP claims the worst roads for rough rides are in western U.S. states followed by the Midwest and Northeast.

ICUEE 2013 has just ended, but for Toro it's a beginning. Toro used the event to unveil a new lineup of 20,000- and 40,000-lb. thrust directional drills, a 64-hp trencher and other attachments that go along with its recent purchase of the Astec Light product line. And they are all Tier 4 compliant.

Toro Enters Trencher, Directional Drill Business

Another major bridge mishap, this time impacting the home turf of the Green Bay Packers. A couple of weeks ago the Leo Frigo Bridge that carries Interstate 43 traffic over the Fox River began to crumble mid span and quickly closed down. Inspectors discovered a concrete pier some 10 feet underground buckled due to corrosion. The thinking is that components of industrial fill used over wetlands set the scenario in motion. It is not believed the span will collapse. However, an intense inspection is underway of all support piers.

KHL Group Yellow Table Survey of the nation's largest manufacturers is out, and Caterpillar is again on top. The KHL effort ranks the world's 50 largest construction equipment manufacturers based largely on sales which were up 2.6% last year to $186 billion. In a recent interview I asked Cat CEO Doug Oberhelman about corporate reshuffling in recent months and the effect on the marketpalce.

In closing, we pass along this bit of advice: you can't have everything, where would you put it?

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