Video: Congress Tosses Highway Funding a Short Lifeline

Congress has approved an $8 billion, three-month patch for highway funding and the Senate and House will debate a long-term solutions this fall; plus more industry news on the August 6, 2015, edition of Construction News Tracker

A short lifeline for highways…

California traffic nightmare…

And a robot city opens in Michigan…

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

Eight billion dollars for three months is what Congress has given the nation for highway construction. That doesn’t go very far in addressing solutions to repair, rebuild and replace aging systems.

Special Report: Congress Passes 3-month Highway Funding Patch

The U.S. Senate has agreed to a six year, $450 billion dollar solution but can pay for only three years of the plan, and it still must be deliberated by the House of Representatives.

It’s anticipated that the House and Senate will compare notes again this fall before the present appropriation expires October 29.

The ongoing delay in reaching an accord on funding infrastructure led to a drop in construction employment in 25 states from May to June.

The AGC analysis of Labor Department data claims contractors are reluctant to engage in hiring without a firm commitment of federal dollars.

The list is interesting in that most spring jobs lost were in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Mexico. Year to year overall, 39 states saw increases in construction employment.

Heavy rain swollen creek beds have caused a bridge collapse along a key transportation link across the southwest.

A bridge on Interstate Highway 10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles was washed out, and its location about 50 miles west of the state line in the middle of the desert is significant. Thousands of vehicles are being re-routed through the barren desert on two-lane roads, adding up to three hours time to a trip.

DOT inspectors have also found deficiencies with other bridges along the route. CALTRANS crews built a temporary crossover detour of the interstate to get traffic going again while it replaces the washed out east bound bridge expected to take months.

Interesting that this should occur following a recent Associated Press poll calling for more infrastructures spending. Fifty-three percent of those polled said more money needs to be spent while 33% believe spending is right on and 10% think too much is spent on infrastructure.

On the question of public transportation, the AP poll shows 40% believe the segment needs more money, 40% say it’s good and 10% believe transit spending should be reduced.

Latest figures from the U.S. Commerce Department indicate that multifamily construction reached its highest point in 28 years during the month of June. Apartment starts were up 9.8% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.17 million wile single family home construction dropped slightly by nine-tenths of a percent.

A rebounding economy and strong job growth has the housing market bustling as year-to-date housing starts have increased 10.9%

Drive a Dodge Ram pickup truck? Don’t slam the doors. They could set off the airbags.

843,000 Ram models 1500, 2500 and 3500 model years 2013 to 2015 are being recalled in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and other countries under National Transportation Safety Board order.

We’re not kidding. Side impact sensors need to be recalibrated as the air curtain mounted above side windows could be activated with excessive force door slam.

July was a bad month for Fiat Chrysler. The U.S. government slapped the automaker with a $105 million fine for failing to recall some 11 million vehicles in a timely fashion so critical repairs could be made to make them safer.

Contact your Ram dealer for more details.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, now hosts a city within the city. It’s a 32-acre site designated M City by the University of Michigan for testing self-driving cars in a multitude of scenarios.

All the major auto companies have joined forces to help finance and operate the $10 million complex to engineer autonomous vehicles for our future.

In closing, someday I must learn to stop procrastinating, but today is not it.

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