[VIDEO] President Obama Signs First Long-term Infrastructure Funding Bill in 10 Years

The first long-term infrastructure funding bill in a decade assures funding through 2019; plus more construction industry news on the December 10, 2015, edition of Construction News Tracker

Highway Bill waits for the ink to dry...

Insiders mull over the 2016 outlook...

And innovation and what it means...

That and more on Construction News Tracker presented by Caterpillar.

The House voted 359-65 to pass the first long-term infrastructure funding bill in 10 years. In a precedent setting compromise, both houses came together to craft the $305 billion measure that provides $205 billion for highways and $48 billion for transportation such as rail. The stumbling block came in finding the revenue to cover the spending — continuing to use the Federal Gas Tax and $70 billion in offsets with money taken from other federal funds.

Construction industry officials appear elated at the result as work begins to pinpoint the major projects in dire need of attention amid the first significant spending for highways in a decade with funding assured through 2019.

What happens next for the construction industry? CMD assembled three leading economists to extract their thoughts about the U.S. economy as we head into a new year. Kermit Baker of the American Institute of Architects, Alex Carrisk of CMD and Ken Simonson of AGC nearly all are in concert saying we're better now than a year ago. 

CMD: Q4 2015 Construction Starts Forecast Report

Jobless claims are lower, though skilled workers remain desperately needed. Construction spending is up, and the GDP appears healthier. If any area of construction appears unsteady it's housing where the Architecture Billings Index is volatile and is not growing as fast as other sectors.

And what are some of the largest players planning?

Skanska, one of the world's largest firms has had enough positive cash flow that it's being plowed back into U.S. property development despite a large write down this year mainly because of design changes to huge projects and productivity problems.

Similarly, Bechtel Group is upbeat over 2016. The company is among those pushing for public-private partnerships to expand infrastructure spending along with creating of an infrastructure investment bank without any government involvement.

Innovation is a key benchmark for corporations if they have any desire for future growth, and among these is Caterpillar. Machine design and capability is a prerequisite, thus new benefits are consistently being applied. For the buyer it's cost benefit, and how a single application such as grade assist works for the company and the buyer, here is Cat's Brian Stellbrink.

It's the tip of the iceberg when applied to market forces. Consider for a moment some major companies that failed to keep pace: Eastman Kodak, Hewlett Packard and others. As Cat CEO Doug Oberhelman explains, industry leaders just cannot let others set the pace.

In closing, why is Christmas just like a day at the office? You do all the work, and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit.

This is construction News Tracker presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

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