Huge dollar amount needed for highway fund...
Construction spending up...
Renewed focus on work zone safety...
And L.A. preps for football...
That and more on Construction News Tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
After the Congress graciously extended infrastructure funds for two months and President Obama reluctantly signed off the pressure is still on for a long-term resolution to this thorny problem - and it will not be easy.
The latest estimate by the bi-partisan Congressional Budget Office is for $3 billion just to carry funding through September. An additional six months authorization and the projected budget comes in at a whopping $8 billion dollars. Construction industry economists believe the bottom line for a healthy infrastructure base is $15 billion dollar annually. Long-term funding , more than six months, is the key to helping rebuild the sagging infrastructure and expand it.
Many states have severely cut their highway funds this year because of the unpredictability of federal support, as Tennessee DOT Commissioner John Schroer noted recently. Meanwhile, at least one governor, Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming, is steadfast in his support for additional federal revenue.
Construction association officials are poised for another battler on Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers of the need for funds.
As if a point needs to be made, the bridge that carries volumes of traffic between the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery in D.C. is being partially shut down for six months because the framework is crumbling. The National Park Service is responsible for the roadway, and the decision has left the area's politicians fuming. As Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who travels the route daily puts it, it's not just embarrassing it's an outrage. Maybe someone will get the funding message now.
Construction spending jumped to the trillion dollar mark in April. The highest since November 2008, it shows pockets of economic strength as the Commerce Department numbers claim business spending, employment and housing are all showing growth.
The renewed economic impulse may not last very long if new EPA regulations over clean water requirements take effect. The proposal seeks to define all bodies of water, even in ditches, under federal control, leading construction advocates to claim additional permitting and other factors will add substantially to construction projects.
Twenty-seven million and rising. That's the latest estimate of damage to infrastructure from recent Texas floods. The state DOT reports roads in 167 of 254 counties incurred damage — many of them underwater. A wide swath of the south central U.S. has been affected by spring storms, leaving behind considerable rebuilding in the months ahead.
We need safer work zones, period. The latest AGC contractor survey shows 46 percent of highway contractors claim motor vehicles crashed into their projects in the last year. There's little room for error in reduced travel lane areas, and motorists need to slow down and observe the conditions if they want to eliminate the hazards to workers and themselves.
L.A., are you ready for some football? After years of contemplation it appears the area is about to finally get a new football stadium. Hollywood Park Racetrack at Inglewood was demolished with a series of time explosions recently. The 298-acre project, a mixed use sports and entertainment center, would house an 80,000-seat stadium for an NFL team yet to be determined.
This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes our world a better place. Brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com. We're on Twitter using #constructionnews and Facebook as the streaming Web never ends.