[VIDEO] DeFazio to Make Traffic a Key House Transpo Committee Issue

Traffic woes are among the nation's biggest problems, according to a public opinion poll; plus more construction industry news on the December 13, 2018, edition of Construction News Tracker

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

New public opinion polling data from Bird, the leader in rideshare 2.0, shows eight in 10 Americans believe traffic woes are among the nation's biggest problems.Traffic and vehicle pollution are cited as the key issues from 70% of respondents that want new transportation options for trips of two miles or less; 73% claim that traffic is causing environmental problems; while 85% believe more transportation options are needed to reduce traffic congestion. New House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, an Oregon democrat, says that issue alone is among his key agenda items in the new Congress.

The total value of U.S.construction put in place registered a one-tenth of 1% decline in October, surprising economists. Those polled previously had expected construction spending to rise four-tenths of a percent. Engineering News and Review is reporting that overall construction growth in 2019 won't pick up any steam as housing shortfalls negate gains in non-housing sectors. Additionally, Dodge Data claims there will be no changes in construction starts next year. However, Dodge also reports that new starts for October reached the second highest seasonally adjusted rate ever. Dodge says starts will reach 806.8 billion this year, a 3% hike from 2017. However, 2019 is seen as only  two-tenths of a percent increase. Materials prices, as well, remain at a higher rate next year, according to Dodge Economist Robert Murray. The deceleration was expected since expansions typically register slower growth as they mature.

Skanska Construction, a world leader in development, says it will exit the U.S. energy business. The Swedish-based firm announced it will no longer bid on U.S. mega design-build public-private partnership projects in which it holds an equity stake. Skanska recent operations strategic view says the U.S. energy sector has not developed as anticipated, and P3 projects are no longer profitable. The company's investment of $11.4 billion in 2018 has declined since 2017.

Another auto manufacturing plant is under construction in Alabama. Officials gathered recently for ground breaking at the Mazda-Toyota assembly plant being built on 2,000 acres just west of Huntsville  and will employ 1,400 construction workers. The joint facility is within a few miles of a current Toyota engine plant. The $1.6 billion project will employ 4,000 to build 300,000 vehicles when completed in 2021.

There were an estimated 318,000 more people working in construction this year than in 2017. Forty-four states added construction jobs between October of last year and 2018 while 36 states added jobs during the past two months, according to a recent survey by AGC. Chief Economist Ken Simonson reports that employment grew by more than 10% the past year in five states and by over 5% in 18 other states as contractors pay more for labor and materials. Texas added the most jobs in the past year followed by Florida, California, Georgia, Arizona and New York, although Arizona added the highest percentage of jobs over the last year.

A $1.3 billion electric generating plant has been given the green light to begin construction near Wellsville, Ohio. With 1,000 construction jobs in the works the plant by Advanced Power will see the gas electric facility facing completion in 2021. Wellsville lies on the Ohio River across from the northern tip of West Virginia.

It may not be a bad idea to consider a trip to Las Vegas for World of Concrete 2019 as a gift in your Christmas stocking. Tthe 2019 exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center kicks off January 21st with seminars while the exhibits open to attendeesJanuary 22nd through the 25th. We hope you give this fine exhibition your consideration.

In closing, it is better to choose what you say than say what you choose.

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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