Construction News Tracker Video: House GOP Chairman Says Gas-Tax Hike is Dead

Rep. Bill Shuster calls for a broad new process to pay for infrastructure as the present MAP 21 Bill nears expiration and a gas tax hike is unlikely; plus more construction industry news on the April 2, 2015, edition of Construction News Tracker

Forget any federal gas tax hike...

Uranium processing costs billions...

And the first 3D printed cement structure...

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


Congress has no stomach for raising the federal gas tax. That from House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster in recent days. As the rhetoric heats up toward a funding solution to the present MAP 21 Bill that expires May 31st — just weeks from now — all the construction industry players are lining up to encourage a long-term plan.

At the recent AASHTO (American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials) briefing, Shuster called for a broad new process to pay for infrastructure down the road. So the beat goes on, with no clear outcome, just weeks from deadline.

Not much has been reported on the Federal Department of Energy Y-12 National Security Complex near Oak Ridge, Tenn.; likely because it's the site of the nation's uranium processing facility. But site readiness is nearly complete with new roads, bridges and initial infrastructure to support — listen to this — a $6.5 billion dollar complex that will replace World War Two-era buildings over a five mile site. Energy Department estimates reveal a 90 percent completion by 2017 with the Oak Ridge complex fully finished by 2025.

UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design has completed the first 3D printed cement structure. Bloom, as it is called, is a freestanding pavilion with undulating walls made of hundreds of floral bricks. It stand nine feet tall, and the footprint is 12 feet by 12 feet. The powder based 3D cement structure was printed using a new type of iron oxide free portland cement polymer formulation developed by the UC Berkeley research team. The claim is that the polymer mix creates a strong lightweight product that results in a low cost, speedy production effort. Bloom is headed on a worldwide exhibition tour that is certain to attract construction pros.

Video: 3D Concrete Printing - The Future of Construction

How 3D Printing is Affecting the Construction Industry

Must be plenty of money made from selling toothpaste and health products because Procter & Gamble is spending $300 million to build a new R&D center at Mason, Ohio, near Cincinnati. M & W Group of Watervliet, N.Y., and Hunt Construction of Indianapolis are the general contractors partnered for the 500,000-square-foot building, with some cost being shared by local entities. When completed, the new building will house nearly 1,200 employees and fortify an existing P&G complex that already employs 2,300.

A not so super secret construction site at Cupertino, Calif., has residents intrigued. One thousand construction workers are at the site, and already 1.5 million tons of concrete has been poured for the new Apple donut complex. It's one mile in circumference and will be four stories tall with a complete solar layer atop when finished. The panels are expected to fully power the entire building. What's unique is the green building features, with 80 percent open space. It's the trees, rolling hills and walking trails that have the neighbors intrigued as most of it will be inside the donut ring.

Wrapping up, everything is susceptible to change; don't fear it, embrace it. After all, you can't go back, but there's always a new chapter of life just waiting to be written.

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