Tag Archive for 'American Recovery and Reinvestment Act'

‘Dirtiest Man on TV’ Mike Rowe Joins CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 Tech Talks Lineup

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 is pleased to announce that Executive Producer and Host Mike Rowe, best known as the “dirtiest man on TV” from the hit TV series Dirty Jobs, is a featured speaker at the show’s new Tech Talks forum.

Rowe will share the surprising lessons he learned as an apprentice traversing all 50 states and attempting 300 different jobs, during a special session, “Lessons from the Dirt.”

CONEXPO-CON/AGG, March 7- 11, 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, is the international gathering place every three years for the construction industries.

The Tech Talks forum offers short content-rich presentations to inspire and inform. The Talks are an integral component of the show’s new Tech Experience, focused on emerging trends and solutions directly affecting the construction industries in key areas of the jobsite, workforce and infrastructure.

“We’re very excited to welcome Mike Rowe to the Tech Talks forum and CONEXPO-CON/AGG to connect with our attendees; he is a longtime industry supporter advocating for a skilled workforce, the manufacturing sector and infrastructure investment,” said Sara Truesdale Mooney, show director and vice president exhibitions and business development, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

In a new effort, Rowe is collaborating with the National Excavator Initiative, founded in October 2016 to reach excavators and contractors with safe-digging messages, especially the importance of contacting an 811-notification center before digging.

Most recently, Rowe launched The Way I Heard It, a weekly five-minute podcast of short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span. He also runs the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that works hard to debunk myths about the skilled trades and help close the skills gap by giving scholarships to people getting trained for skilled jobs that are in demand.

40-Session Line-up Also Features Local Motors’ CEO

Also joining the Tech Talks forum lineup is John Rogers, President, CEO and co-founder of Local Motors, a next-generation car company changing the designing, building and ownership of cars.

In “The Future of Mobility,” John will discuss how the mobile landscape will look very different in the future, autonomous vehicles as well as projects and expectations for 2020 and beyond.

View the Tech Talks forum 40-session lineup online. For the latest show information and to register, visit www.conexpoconagg.com.

ABC Reports: Nonresidential Construction Spending Dips in January

CEU2“Interpreting January construction statistics is always tricky because the seasonal adjustments can never precisely reflect the impact of any given winter or weather system”—ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Construction spending January 2015Nonresidential construction spending fell 2 percent in January, which is the largest setback to spending since January 2014, according to the March 2 release from the U.S. Census Bureau. However, at $614.1 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, nonresidential construction spending still is 4.8 percent higher than one year ago. In addition, the spending estimate for December 2014 was revised downward from $627.1 billion to $627 billion and November’s figure was revised from $624.8 billion to $621.9 billion.

“Interpreting January construction statistics is always tricky because the seasonal adjustments can never precisely reflect the impact of any given winter or weather system,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “New England, among other places, was hit heavily by snow in January and this could explain the monthly decline in nonresidential construction spending.

“Additionally, nonresidential construction spending enjoyed positive momentum through the end of 2014 and, until January, had registered spending growth in five of the previous six months,” Basu said. “It is also possible that the West Coast port slowdown impacted construction volumes, including by reducing material availability.”

Three of 16 nonresidential construction subsectors posted increases in spending in January on a monthly basis.

  • Communication construction spending gained 0.7 percent for the month, but is down 1.5 percent for the year.
  • Highway- and street-related construction spending grew 0.2 percent in January and is up 8.7 percent compared to the same time last year.
  • Manufacturing-related spending expanded by 4 percent in January and is up 22.5 percent for the year.

Spending in 13 nonresidential construction subsectors declined in January.

  • Health care-related construction spending fell 2.3 percent for the month and is down 2.5 percent for the year.
  • Education-related construction spending fell 3.6 percent for the month and 0.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Spending in the water supply category dropped 7.5 percent from December, but is 3.3 percent higher than at the same time last year.
  • Construction spending in the transportation category fell 1.7 percent on a monthly basis, but has expanded 8.9 percent on an annual basis.
  • Public safety-related construction spending declined 6.7 percent on a monthly basis and is down 14.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Commercial construction spending decreased 5.7 percent in January, but is up 14 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Religious spending fell 11.4 percent for the month and is down 12.4 percent compared to the same time last year.
  • Lodging construction spending is down 4.4 percent on a monthly basis, but is up 18.2 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Sewage and waste disposal-related construction spending shed 7.5 percent for the month, but has grown 16 percent on a 12-month basis.
  • Power-related construction spending fell 1.1 percent for the month and is 13.2 percent lower than at the same time one year ago.
  • Conservation and development-related construction spending fell 5.1 percent for the month but is up 25.6 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Office-related construction spending declined 1.7 percent in January but is up 13.7 percent from the same time one year ago.
  • Amusement and recreation-related construction spending fell 3.2 percent on a monthly basis but is up 19.3 percent from the same time last year.
  • Sewage and waste disposal-related construction spending fell 2 percent for the month, but has grown 10.5 percent on a 12-month basis.

To view the previous spending report, click here

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces 72 TIGER 2014 Recipients
Demand Demonstrates Need for Greater Transportation Investment through GROW AMERICA Act

header-DOT_700x90[1]U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Department of Transportation would provide $600 million for 72 transportation projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia from its TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2014 program.

The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013.  Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9 billion for needed transportation projects.

“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Secretary Foxx.  “We’re building bridges from Maine to Mississippi.  We’re creating ladders of opportunity for the middle-class and those seeking to enter the middle-class by investing in transit, road and rail projects from Los Angeles to Detroit to New York City, increasing access to jobs and quality of life.  For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.”

Projects funded through this round of TIGER support several key transportation goals: 

Improving Access to Jobs and Creating New “Ladders of Opportunity:  Americans are increasingly challenged by longer travel times, which take away from time on the job and at home.  For those looking for work, unpredictable travel times can make finding work and keeping a job even harder.  This round of TIGER invests in projects designed to cut down on travel times, increase predictability and, in some cases, attract new middle-class jobs into communities.  Examples include:

  • A $24.9 million investment in the construction of a 7.6 mile bus rapid transit line in Richmond will connect transit-dependent residents to jobs and retail centers as well as spur mixed use and transit-oriented development in a city with the highest poverty rate in Virginia.
  • A $15 million TIGER grant will develop a new bus rapid transit spine for Omaha, Neb., dramatically reducing travel time to major employment hubs in the city.  Roughly 16 percent of the households within a quarter of a mile of the proposed bus-rapid transit route do not currently have access to a vehicle.
  • A $20 million TIGER grant will pay for the modernization of Boston’s Ruggles Station, which will include the construction of a new 797-foot long, 12-foot wide high-level passenger platform between the Ruggles Station headhouse and Northeastern University’s Columbus Avenue parking garage.
  • A $10.8 million investment in the Wando Welch Terminal Rehabilitation project in South Carolina will help make structural repairs, strengthen the berth, and make related paving and safety improvements. The TIGER funding will also be used for the installation of jacket repairs for damaged piles.

Reversing neglect by repairing U.S. infrastructure, enhancing quality of life and commerce:

  • The New Route 47 Missouri River Bridge Project will replace the decaying, 78 year-old Route 47 Deck and Warren Truss Bridge over the Missouri River in Washington, MO. A $10 million TIGER grant will be put to use to ensure this vital community and economic link continues to serve not only the people of Franklin and Warren Counties but the region as a whole.  With the bridge nearing the end of its useful life, its age and condition create an on-going need for maintenance, resulting in substantial expense to taxpayers and inconvenience to the public. The project includes doubling the travel way from 22 feet to 44 feet, removing the overhead truss, widening the shoulders and adding separated bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
  • The Three County Roadway Improvements Program will move forward thanks to a $17.9 million TIGER grant that will help Claiborne County, Mississippi improve motor vehicle transportation reliability and safety in an economically-disadvantaged rural region by creating a fully-connected and safe county transportation system that allows direct movement of citizens and goods from rural areas to local economic points of interest.

Supporting Game-Changing Local Initiatives: The $25 million TIGER grant for the Vision Zero project will bolster New York City’s multi-agency plan to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by redesigning intersections near schools, creating safer pedestrian access to transit and fill a major gap in the city’s protected bicycle lane network that will connect lower-income communities to industrial zones.

Helping communities plan for the future:  An example of a project that is utilizing innovative methodologies to plan for the future is the Land Use Connections for Sustainable Schools project in North Texas that will create a program and implementation plan for a regional working group to promote multimodal transportation options to schools, advance long-term planning for school siting, improve transportation safety near schools and encourage coordination between local governments, independent school districts, and transit agencies within the 12-county area for resource efficiency and sustainability.

The GROW AMERICA Act would authorize $5 billion over four years for much-needed additional TIGER funding to help meet the overwhelming demand for significant infrastructure investments around the country and provide the certainty that states and local governments need to properly plan for investment.  The $302 billion, four year transportation reauthorization proposal would provide increased and stable funding for the nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems without contributing to the deficit.  The GROW AMERICA Act also includes several critical program reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal highway, rail, and transit programs.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – including 117 projects to support rural and tribal communities. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country.  Congress provided the most recent funding as part of the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, signed by President Obama on January 17, 2014.

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants.

Click here for additional information on the GROW AMERICA Act.

…if America fails to fund surface transportation improvements

Site-K Editorial Staff

By Greg Sitek

September marks the end of summer and the summer of 2011 will go down in history – tornados ripped cities to shreds, heat baked half the country, the economy ended up with the USA having its credit rating downgraded for the first time ever and a new transportation infrastructure bill remained in limbo as this issue of the ACP magazines were put to bed.

Typically I express my views and opinions on something related to the industry and/or the focus of the magazine. While beating my hallow head against a reinforced brick wall trying to think of what to say I received the following press release from American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the association that brought us the infrastructure report card. The debt ceiling and credit downgrade are important but what about our transportation infrastructure…

ASCE releases first-ever report on how U.S. economy and family budgets will fare if America fails to fund surface transportation improvements 

The nation’s deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs, and suppress the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product by $897 billion by 2020, according to a new report released by the ASCE. The report, conducted by the Economic Development Research Group of Boston, showed that in 2010, deficiencies in America’s roads, bridges and transit systems cost American households and businesses roughly $130 billion, including approximately $97 billion in vehicle operating costs, $32 billion in delays in travel time, $1.2 billion in safety costs and $590 million in environmental costs.
If investments in surface transportation infrastructure are not made soon, those costs are expected to grow exponentially. Within 10 years, U.S. businesses would pay an added $430 billion in transportation costs, household incomes would fall by more than $7,000 and U.S. exports will fall by $28 billion per year.

“Clearly, failing to invest in our roads, bridges and transit systems has a dramatic negative impact on America’s economy,” said Kathy J. Caldwell, P.E., F.ASCE, president of ASCE. “The link between a nation’s infrastructure and its economic competitiveness has always been understood. But today, for the first time, we have data showing how much failing to invest in our surface transportation system can negatively impact job growth and family budgets. This report is a wake-up call for policymakers because it shows that investing in infrastructure contributes to creating jobs, while failing to do so hurts main street America.”

American businesses and workers will suffer

The report shows that failing infrastructure will drive the cost of doing business up by adding $430 billion to transportation costs in the next decade. It will cost firms more to ship goods, and the raw materials they buy will cost more due to increased transportation costs.

Productivity across the business sector will also tumble. Those increased costs will cause businesses to underperform by $240 billion over the next decade, which will drive the prices of goods up.As a result, U.S. exports will fall by $28 billion, including 79 of 93 tradable commodities. Ten sectors of the U.S. economy account for more than half of this unprecedented loss in export value – among them key technology sectors like machinery, medical devices, communications equipment, which produces much of this country’s innovations.

America would also lose jobs in high-value sectors as business income goes down. Almost 877,000 jobs would be lost by 2020, primarily in the high-value, professional, business and medical sectors which are vital to America’s knowledge-based service economy.

Ultimately, Americans will get paid less. While the economy would lose jobs, those who are able to find work will find their paychecks cut.

“The cost to businesses will reduce the productivity and competitiveness of American firms relative to global competitors significantly. By 2020, American families will lose more than $7000 because of the ripple effects that will occur throughout the economy,” said Steven Landau of the EDR Group. “Business will have to divert increasing portions of earned income to pay for transportation delays and vehicle repairs, draining money that would otherwise be invested in innovation and expansion.”

Families will have a lower standard of living

A lack of investment in transportation infrastructure would inflict a double whammy on American families who would see their household incomes fall by $60 a month by 2020, while having to spend $30 per month more for goods. The total cost to families would exact about $10,600 per family between now and 2020, equal to $1,600 per year on household budgets.

Modest investment needed

The report estimates that in order to bring the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure up to tolerable levels, policymakers would need to invest approximately $1.7 trillion between now and 2020 in the nation’s highways and transit systems. The U.S. is currently on track to spend a portion of that – $877 billion – during the same timeframe. The infrastructure-funding gap equals $846 billion over 9 years or $94 billion per year.

Small investments in infrastructure, equal to about 60 percent of what Americans spend on fast food each year, would:

  • Protect 1.1 million jobs
  • Save Americans nearly 2 billion hours in travel time each year
  • Deliver an average of $1,060 to each family and
  • Protect $2,600 in GDP for every man, woman and child in the U.S.

The report, the first of four scheduled by the Society, examined the country’s surface transportation infrastructure.  Future reports will examine the state of the nation’s infrastructure as it relates to water and, wastewater delivery and treatment; energy transmission; airports and marine ports.

The full report is available at: http://message.asce.org/forms/FailuretoActdownloadform

This article appeared as the editorial in the September 2011 issues of the ACP magazines:  California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder.

Summertime And The Livin’ Is…

Site-K Editorial Staff

By Greg Sitek

It’s hard to believe that Summer 2011 is nearing its end. Actually it’s difficult to accept this plain, simple recurring fact because as the days shorten and temperatures start to drop in preparation for winter, we have to deal with the fact that we still don’t have a highway bill; that another construction season is slipping away, a season that could have put more than a million people back to work. The Highway Bill extension runs out again in September 2011.

Technically it isn’t the Highway Bill. Federally aided highway construction has existed under a variety of different names for almost a hundred years starting with the Federal-Aid Highway Acts (1916–1987); National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (1956); Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act (1987) ;  Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (1991); National Highway Designation Act (1995); Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (1998); Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (2005) with the last one SAFETEA-LU having expired in September 2009. Each rendition of these various acts brought us closer to providing our citizens the type of transportation infrastructure this country needs.

As we approached the expiration of SAFETEA-LU congress and industry had unrolled proposals that not only made sense but also laid down the foundation for a transportation infrastructure that would have carried us forward into the distant future. These proposals addressed not only immediate needs for the repair and modernization of our existing infrastructure but also provided for the continued growth and development of our ever-changing commercial-industrial-manufacturing-transportation needs. Had a solid transportation infrastructure bill been enacted and passed now two years ago the construction industry would not be faced with the level of unemployment numbers it is, a level that will not decrease but rather increase as the “building season” winds down.

In the June 19, 2011 issue of Newsweek ran an article by Bill Clinton titled, It’s Still the Economy, Stupid, Fourteen million Americans remain out of work, a waste of our greatest resource. The 42nd president has more than a dozen ideas on how to attack the jobs crisis. In this article former president Clinton lists 14 ways to put America back to work. Many of his recommendations related directly or indirectly to this industry:

  1. Speed the Approvals
  2. Cash for Startups
  3. Jobs Galore in Energy
  4. Copy the Empire State Building (Updates and renovations)
  5. Get the Utilities in on the Action
  6. State by State Solutions
  7. Guarantee Loans
  8. Paint ‘em White (All the roofs in the country as an energy saving measure)
  9. Deals to Make Things
  10. Train on the Job
  11. Teach Skills We Need
  12.  Cut Corporate Taxes
  13. Enforce Trade Laws
  14. Analyze the Opportunities

And, I’m adding a 15th item: Pass a Transportation Bill. Actually this could easily be a part of the Clinton’s 14th item, Analyze the Opportunities because this is an opportunity to put more than a million people back to work.

As you look through the list you can see how many of these tie into construction and construction related activities.

Where am I going with this? I’m encouraging you to contact your Washington representatives and by phone or email and telling them to act on the transportation bill when it comes up in September. Support the various organizations that are involved in making the public aware of our national transportation needs.

Read what the American Concrete Pavement Association  (ACPA) has to say about our need for a highway bill:

Summertime Underscores Need for Highway Bill Now

The American Concrete Pavement Association is urging voters throughout the transportation community to be unrelenting in urging Congress to enact an adequately funded transportation bill.

“This summer is a pivotal time for our industry to remind our federal elected officials of the importance and urgency of finding solutions to the dire situation the construction industry and our highways are facing,” says Gerald F. Voigt, P.E., President and CEO of the American Concrete Pavement Association.

“This is not the time to slow the pace; instead, we need to continue to urge Congress to do the right thing by making highways and other elements of our surface transportation system a top priority,” he says.

Voigt says this is especially important now for several reasons, including:

§  The nations economy continues to falter, and amid the continuing economic uncertainty, unemployment remains at a critical state in the construction industry.   Passage of the highway bill would create and sustain well-paying, long-term jobs for people who want to work and need to work.

§  Summertime brings school recesses, vacation schedules, and other reasons for large groups of people to visit Washington, D.C.   This means elected officials are hearing from many special interests, and because of that, we need to ensure that transportation issues do not get lost in the “hue and cry” of other issues.

§  August is traditionally the time when Senators and Representatives return to their home states and districts, and as such, this presents voters with more opportunities to have direct contact with elected officials at town-hall meetings, fundraising events, and other activities.

§  August 10 marks the sixth anniversary of the signing of the most recent highway bill, which since its expiration, has been extended seven times.  Extensions, says Voigt, make it difficult, if not impossible, for businesses to invest in the future, and with no clear timeline for the next transportation bill, will continue to jeopardize the economic vitality of companies.

§  Retail fuel prices are rising at an alarming rate, and with widespread speculation that motorists will be paying $5/gallon gasoline, motorists can scarcely afford to waste fuel because of the inefficiency and disrepair of our nation’s highways.

Take a Stand
“Talk to your neighbors, your colleagues, your employees and everyone you know who has the power of the vote, and urge them to take a stand, and to tell their elected officials that they demand unselfish and discerning leadership, and the courage to do what is right for this country,” Voigt says.  “Tell them to make the tough call by finding viable, sustainable solutions to find and invest the funds to repair and preserve the nation’s highways.

Voigt adds that every member of the transportation community has the power of the vote, as well as the right to hold elected officials accountable for their actions & and inaction.

“Our ability to move people and goods is critical to this nation,” Voigt says. “Our federal government has underinvested in our nation’s transportation infrastructure for years, and as a result, we are falling further behind in the global marketplace. China, India, and other developing nations understand the value of infrastructure development and the critical link between infrastructure, commerce, personal mobility, and safety. The question we should all be asking is, “Why are those issues any less important in the United States than in other nations?”

“It is disingenuous for anyone to suggest that we can solve this problem without increasing funding.  Accounting for inflation, we invest less in our infrastructure today than we did in 1975.  This is unacceptable, and for every day we put off a solution, we burden our children and those who come after us,” Voigt says.

“Together, we need to make this the summer of action, and not just another season of inaction,” Voigt says.

This is your infrastructure and you have an investment in it, a serious investment. Our representatives in Washington are responsible to us for protecting these investments and managing them so that we can realize a reasonable ROI. Let’s make them accountable.

This article appeared as the editorial in the August 2011 issues of the ACP magazines:  California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder.