Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
ARTBA, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, is coming down hard on the Congress for its latest House version of tax reform. President Pete Ruane says the House dropped the ball in this latest version of tax reform by not addressing the oncoming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Ruane calls it a revenue problem not a policy problem. He notes that in June, 253 members of Congress signed a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee urging a permanent trust fund solution, and without it 40% of state transportation departments will face a shortfall by 2021. Ruane also pointed out that House tax reform trust fund inaction could tank President Trump's plans for massive infrastructure spending.
In a November 17th request to Congress for another $44 billion in disaster relief funds the White House, in little detail, proposed stripping a billion from normal federally aided trust funds — added to earlier federal disaster aid requests of nearly $100 billion. It has asked for $59 billion in budget cuts across federal agencies to pay for the emergency reconstruction costs, thus taking back a billion in prior year contract authority that state DOTs have not yet obligated.
Models in Caterpillar's overhauled excavator platform claiming up to 45% better efficiency and 15% lower maintenance costs will come with Cat 2D Grade, Cat Grade with Assist and Cat Payload technologies as standard equipment. Asked how the manufacturer will help contractors get the most from these technologies Caterpillar Construction Industries Group President Bob DeLange told FCP Editor Larry Stewart.
The massive proposed $3 billion Foxconn plant in southern Wisconsin is a go. Gov. Scott Walker and state representatives joined with company officials for the official state bill signing that will bring a massive high-tech facility to Racine County, not far from the Illinois border. What it will also bring is a major reconstruction to Interstate Highway 94 from the Illinois line to Milwaukee to accommodate thousands of prospective new employeees and services to the complex. $252 million of the $3 billion incentive package is earmarked for highway construction as the intent is to widen I-94 from six to eight lanes and add interchanges. Walker says he wishes to import lots of skilled construction workers to the area to help build Foxconn and the needed infrastructure.
The Architecture Billings Index, a barometer of future construction spending with a nine to 12 month lead time, has bounced back in October from earlier estimates for design services. October came in at 51.7 in the American Institute of Archictects Billing Index after falling short in September at 49.1 and August at 53.7. Both the commercial and institutional sectors were lower last month as was the multifamily segment. However, new design contracts remained relatively stable.
It took less than a minute for the 71,000-seat Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta to be obliterated a week ago. Five thousand pounds of explosives were used in the demolition of the 25-year-old famed facility as they were set off in a spiral around the stadium which then collapsed. The Georgia Dome has been replaced by the Mercedes Benz Dome adjacent to it, and the home of the Atlanta Falcons NFL team seperated by only 30 feet. Contractors erected a five-story-tall industrial strength curtain between the two buildings to eliminate any concussion effects from the blast.
In closing, one thing you can't recycle is wasted time.
This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place, presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.