Construction News Tracker Video: Bipartisan Senators Move on a Highway Bill

45% of road contractors suffered workzone crashes last year, Holcim and Lafarge to merge, United Rentals rises to the top of equipment rental

  • Bipartisan senators meet on a highway bill
  • Holcim/Lafarge merger in the works
  • 45% of road contractors suffered workzone crashes last year
  • United Rentals rises to the top by specializing


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


An agreement on principle to follow MAP 21 guidelines in a badly needed highway funding bill has been reached by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators.

Despite the fact no funding plan was adopted, the group said it is intent on:

  • Reaching a six-year bill
  • Maintaining formulas for existing core programs
  • Keeping current levels of funding plus inflation
  • Creating jobs and growing the economy

Among the senators voicing support are two important committee chairs: Tom Carper and Barbara Boxer, Democrats; along with Republicans John Barasso and David Vitter. Present federal infrastructure money runs out at the end of September, if not before.


The construction unemployment rate fell to 11.3% in March as the industry gained 19,000 jobs for the month.

Labor-department statistics indicate most of the increase came from nonresidential construction that tallied 6,700 jobs added. Overall the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%. Associated Builders and Contractors’ Chief Economist Anirban Basau appeared pleased with the result, saying the retreat of the cold winter weather should hasten construction job growth in the coming months.

Residential building construction has gained 7.9% year-to-date for the month of March.


A whopping 45% of highway contractors has reported workzone crashes in the past year.

That’s the latest from an AGC study on the dangerous conditions surrounding such sites. In 20% of the incidents reported, construction workers were injured as a result of careless motorists, and a number of sites were forced to shut down for days as a result.

More and more contractors are being forced to take extra precautions, many employing concrete barriers, to enhance highway workzone safety.

AASHTO PSA -- Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake 


California contractors should be alert to activity on House Bill 1897.

The new legislation would force employers to take legal responsibility for subcontract employees. Let us repeat, the legislative effort by assemblyman Roger Hernandez would require employers to make all contributions for personal income taxes wages and workers compensation for subs if they reneged on the responsibility.


How many windfarms are there in the U.S?

Check this out…NASA climate scientists have compiled a unique map dating back to 1975, when the first site was established in Southern California, through 2012, with nearly a thousand wind farms now producing energy for 15 million homes.  

Wind-produced electricity now accounts for 42% of new power applied to the grid.


What is being called a merger of equals surrounds the effort to combine Lafarge and Holcim.

The deal, amounting to $44 billion, would result in cement and concrete production facilities in 90 countries worldwide. If the governments involved approve, the merger would become effective next year.


United Rentals is now the world’s largest equipment rental company, with 832 locations in 49 states. It just wrapped up its latest acquisition with the purchase of National Pump. And it’s brought the firm notoriety from the business world as evidenced in this recent appearance on Fox Business News with Liz Claman by United CEO Michael Kneeland……


And we leave you on this note: every time history repeats itself, the price goes up.

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