[VIDEO] Caterpillar Plans to Move Global Headquarters to Chicago

Cat plans to relocate a limited group of senior executives and support functions from Peoria, IL, to the Chicago area this year; plus more construction industry news on the Feb. 2, 2017, edition of Construction News Tracker

Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

Caterpillar's announcement that some of its executive team will move from Peoria to Chicago has dealt the city a broadside.

New Cat CEO Jim Umpleby announced the company Board of Directors has been discussing the benefits of a more accessible strategic location for some time, and there is a need for executives to be closer to a global transportation hum. The move is seen as an effort to accommodate global customers, dealers and employees more easily and frequently.

The blow for Peoria comes in the decision by Cat not to build a new headquarters building at its long-time site.

For now, an estimated 300 senior level Cate executives would move into leased space in the Windy City this year.

What the future holds remains unknown.

The Trump administration has bulldozed its opening round of talks with substantial moves aimed at curbing the nation's insfrastructure bottleneck.

Specifically, loosening the approval process for two major pipelines sidetracked by the previous administration the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access to move forward.

Streamlining the environmental and regulatory process for high priority infrastructure projects, the USDOT has already released its report claiming the nation needs $926 billion to pay for highway and transit needs.

Compiling a list by his transition team of 50 nationwide projects totaling $137.5 billion to the National Governors Association for potential funding — listing them as emergency and national security projects with cost estimates and job impacts.

Laying out a nearly identitical list of infrastructure projects to be funded by public private partnerships.

Going forward the real key to obtaining necessary funds will be in what the Republican dominated Congress can agree with as it struggles to balance an already lopsided budget and convincing a skeptical public of which 66% is opposed to tolls to pay for new roads.

As proof all the President needs do is travel a few blocks from the White House to the Arlington Memorial Bridge. It links the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. The span was closed to vehicle traffic during the inauguration due to deterioration and weight limits after being deemed structurally deficient. The bridge is basically crumbling, and USDOT has approved $90 million of an estimated $250 million for its replacement.

The value of construction starts fell 5% in December according to Dodge Data and Analytics to a seasonally adjusted rate of $613 billion. Residential starts rose 5%. While multifamily was also up, the nonbuilding sector of utility and public works fell a whopping 41% marking 2016 overall of starts at $676.5 billion.

Overall 2016 showed the best year for housing starts since 2007. Nonresidential construction starts are up by 3.4% to $24 billion —bypassing the typical November/December decline.

The Architecture Billings Index closed out the year finishing at 55.9, and a quarterly increase in demand for design services.

$965 million is the price tag on United Rentals acquisition of NES Rentals, one of the 10 largest general equipment rental companies in the U.S. The deal includes 73 U.S. NEW branches and 1,100. At the end of 2016, NES had some $900 million of fleet at original equipment cost.

The World of Concrete 2017 show is history. Thousands of attendees visited scores of exhibits and demonstrations and learned of new procedures and rules for improving their skills. I discovered there are new masonry codes to cover testers aimed at lessening costly delays as Mike Morrison of the American Concrete Institutes explained.

Next up on the trade show agenda is CONEXPO-CON/AGG that begins March 7th also in Las Vegas. Word is that every major construction industry will be represented with over 2,500 exhibitors covering every inch of convention center floor space. Registration for CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 is now open, and you can save dollars by obtaining your credentials early.

For many of you living in winter climates road salt can cost you extra dollars. The National Pavement Techonolgy Center, which is part of the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State University, has been working to find a cure for how road salt affects highways and those who use them. Engineers have found that salt also causes road surfaces to crumble, particularly along saw cuts in concrete joints. Chemical reaction between concrete and some modern de-icing salts is causing premature surface failure. And now the focus is on types of sealants that can be utilized to prevent the erosion of highway surfaces.

Hopefully the technology can also discover a way to keep vehicles free of road salt and from rusting out as well.

In closing, a day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work.

This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place, presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

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