Tag Archive for 'Bridges & Tunnels'

ARTBA Issues Statement on House “INVEST in America” Act

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has released the “INVEST in America Act,” a surface transportation legislative proposal that calls for spending $494 billion over five-years to repair the nation’s roads, bridges, rail and public transportation systems. Please attribute the following statement to American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Dave Bauer.
 
“If America can put astronauts back in space for the first time in nearly a decade with a little help from the private sector, surely we can do something similar to modernize our aging transportation network.
 
“With the most severe economic disruption since the Great Depression and continuity of state transportation improvement programs in doubt, the case for Congress to deliver a robustly funded infrastructure bill has never been stronger.  
 
“The transportation construction industry, in partnership with public agency officials, is ready to rebuild the nation’s highways, bridges and public transit systems.
 
“The release of the House bill complements efforts already underway in the Senate.  The FAST Act transportation law expires in less than 120 days.  It’s time to hit the gas on the legislative process to ensure that infrastructure investment springboards economic recovery.”
 
Established in 1902 and with more than 8,000 public and private sector members, the Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA advocates for strong investment in transportation infrastructure to meet the public and business community demand for safe and efficient travel.
 For more information visit www.artba.org

House Introduces Surface Transportation Infrastructure Bill

On June 3, House Democratic Transportation & Infrastructure Committee leadership introduced the Invest in America Act, a five-year, $494 billion surface transportation reauthorization proposal, which is a 46 percent increase over current funding levels. The legislation is expected to be marked up by the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee in two weeks and, if approved, it will be considered on the House floor in July. 

The Senate’s bipartisan five-year, $287 billion surface transportation bill, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), was approved by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee last summer and awaits consideration by other Senate panels of jurisdiction. 

Unfortunately, neither proposal currently identifies revenue to pay for the investments, the main point of contention during highway bill debates. 

With the current highway program expiring on September 30 and the budget challenges faced by state and local governments, Congress must urgently take action to complete the reauthorization process to provide certainty to public works construction markets. 

After the introduction, AED’s President & CEO Brian P. McGuire released the following statement:

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was long overdue for our leaders in Washington to provide substantial, long-term surface transportation investments to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Now, there’s a renewed necessity as the United States stares directly into a significant economic downturn, state Departments of Transportation are unable to fund future construction projects and equipment dealers and their customers are facing significant uncertainty.”

“AED urges Congress and the administration to immediately work in a bipartisan manner to complete the surface transportation reauthorization process. There should be no more excuses—everyone in Washington knows what needs to be done and now is the time to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, put people back to work and generate economic growth for years to come.”

To view the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Invest in America Act Summary visit: https://transportation.house.gov/imo/media/doc/Final%20Bill%20Text%20of%20the%20INVEST%20in%20America%20Act.pdf

To view the Invest in America Act’s bill text visit: https://transportation.house.gov/imo/media/doc/Final%20Bill%20Text%20of%20the%20INVEST%20in%20America%20Act.pdf

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ARTBA: President Trump & Michigan Governor Reinforce Bipartisan Desire for Infrastructure Investment

By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA

In his Feb. 4 State of the Union address, President Donald J. Trump urged Congress to pass infrastructure legislation.

“We must also rebuild America’s infrastructure,” he said. “I ask you to pass Senator John Barrasso’s highway bill to invest in new roads, bridges, and tunnels all across our land.”

His comments represent the first time during a State of the Union address that Trump asked Congress to act on specific infrastructure legislation. The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW), led by Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), in July unanimously passed the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act.

The bill is still waiting for consideration before the full Senate. House Republicans and Democrats have put forward separate infrastructure principals, but not a detailed bill.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s speech, highlighted the actions governors in states are taking to improve infrastructure. “During my campaign, people told ​​me to fix the damn roads, because blown tires and broken windshields are downright dangerous, and car repairs take money from rent, childcare or groceries,” she said.

Whitmer recently led an effort to approve $3.5 billion in one-time bond revenue for Michigan roads, doubling the state’s funding for roads over the next five years.

Having infrastructure mentioned in both speeches reinforces the bipartisan appeal of infrastructure—a message ARTBA staff emphasizes every week with Capitol Hill offices. ARTBA will continue to work with Congress to ensure passage of a new surface transportation reauthorization bill before the current law expires Sept. 30.

ARTBA Washington Update: Congress Avoids Shutdown & Repeals $7.6 Billion Contract Authority Rescission

Dean Franks, senior vice president of congressional relations, ARTBA

This week Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed, a Continuing Resolution (CR) that keeps all discretionary government programs funded through Dec. 20. The legislation includes a full repeal of the $7.6 billion Contract Authority rescission that was set to take effect July 1.

The repeal of this rescission, authorized as part of the FAST Act surface transportation law, has been a priority for ARTBA and state DOTs for years. The rescission was a budgetary gimmick included by some members of the House Republican leadership as an attempt to make the FAST Act’s investment increases appear temporary by resetting and lowering the baseline for the surface transportation programs going into the next authorization law as the FAST Act winds down.

ARTBA, AASHTO, and other industry allies have worked to repeal the rescission because it could impede the states’ flexibility in utilizing federal-aid highway funds, especially going into the 2020 construction season. The ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) sent a Nov. 15 letter to congressional leaders advocating for repeal of the rescission. A similar Nov. 14 letter signed by 42 national groups, including ARTBA, also called for the repeal.

Thanks are in order to the numerous members of Congress who advocated for the repeal, including Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), who introduced legislation (S. 1992) to repeal the rescission which, as of Nov. 22, had 60 co-sponsors. A Nov. 14 letter lead by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) signed by over 100 of their colleagues also called for rescission repeal.

Regarding FY 2020 spending, the CR funds all relevant transportation programs at FY 2019 authorized levels. The House vote was 231-192 and the Senate approved 74-20. The president signed the measure only hours before the Nov. 21 expiration of an earlier CR.

A full-year transportation appropriations bill is still pending. The House and Senate have passed their versions of FY 2020 transportation bills.

ARTBA understands congressional negotiators are close to reaching agreement on spending levels for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees, which will allow for the bills to move forward. ARTBA will continue working with members and staff on Capitol Hill, and partner organizations, to ensure a final, FY 2020 bill is enacted before Dec. 20.

ARTBA 2013 Transportation Construction Market Forecast: Modest Growth

Bridge Market Will Be Flat; Port & Waterway Construction A Bright Spot

The U.S. transportation construction infrastructure market is expected to show modest growth in 2013, increasing three percent from $126.5 billion to $130.3 billion, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) annual forecast.  The association’s chief economist, Dr. Alison Premo Black, released her findings during a November 30 webinar for Wall Street analysts and construction industry executives.

Growth is expected in highway and street pavements, private work for driveways and parking lots, airport terminal and runway work, railroads, and port and waterway construction.  ARTBA predicts the bridge market, which has shown substantial growth over the last 10 years, to remain flat next year.

The federal surface transportation program, combined with state and local government transportation investments, are the most significant drivers of the national transportation infrastructure construction market.

According to Black, the pavements market will be sluggish in 2013, growing 2.8 percent to $58.4 billion.  This includes $47.7 billion in public and private investment in highways, roads and streets, and $10.7 billion in largely private investments in parking lots, driveways and related structures.

With no new real federal money in the 2012 MAP-21 surface transportation law, still recovering state and local tax collections and modest new housing starts, the pavements market will be uneven across the nation.  Pavement work is anticipated to be down in 25 states.  Growth above a five percent range is expected in 19 states.

However, there are at least two developments related to MAP-21 that could lead to additional market activity in the short term and strengthen the market in 2013 and 2014, Black says.

First, the law’s restructuring of the federal highway program offers state transportation departments more flexibility in their use of federal funds.  This could lead to slightly increased investment in highway, bridge and pavement work above the forecast in some states.   Second, MAP-21’s expanded federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program should also increase construction activity in some states.

Black also notes that major reconstruction work along the East Coast in states that were affected by Hurricane Sandy could also be a market factor in 2013 across all modes.   Additional federal, state and local emergency funds for rebuilding this infrastructure could be a boost as projects get underway.

A major wild card in the forecast, Black says, is the so-called “fiscal cliff”—the dire financial situation set to occur at the beginning of 2013 if Congress and the President can’t agree on tax and spending reforms.  Although the “fiscal cliff” would not directly impact federal highway investment to the states, it could affect state and local finances, and thereby cause governments to pull back or delay projects.  Such action in turn would have negative consequences on the highway construction market.

Individual businesses may also delay capital and hiring decisions amid the uncertainty.

Bridges & Tunnels

After a four-year run of significant market growth—reaching a record high $28.5 billion in 2012—the bridge and tunnel construction market will cool off in 2013, likely remaining flat at about $28.2 billion.  The ARTBA forecast shows projects in eight states—California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington—will continue to account for about half of the U.S. market activity in this sector.  With a number of major bridge projects on the horizon, however, the bridge and tunnel sector should rebound smartly in 2014.

ARTBA’s 2013 forecast for other transportation modes:

Ports & Waterways

Driven by expanded sea trade expected with completion of the Panama Canal expansion project in 2015, U.S. ports and waterway construction is expected to skyrocket nearly 25 percent to $2.65 billion.  Increased market activity is anticipated in California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Airport Runways & Terminals

Airport runway and terminal construction is expected to show growth in 28 states, with sector growth overall of 4.5 percent, reaching $12.5 billion.  Market-driving states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.  Funding for airport projects is anticipated to increase over the next five years, largely tracking growth in passenger enplanements. 

Light Rail & Subways

The uncertainty caused by the 33-month long delay in passage of MAP-21 will be felt in the subway and light rail markets.  Construction activity is projected to be down by eight percent overall.  There will be some bright spots, however.  Based on recent contract awards, these states will be moving forward on key transit projects: California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

The forecast uses an ARTBA econometric model that takes into account a number of economic variables at the federal, state and local level.  It is measuring the public and private value of construction put in place, published by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The ARTBA estimate of the private driveway and parking lot construction market is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Economic Business Census.”

Established 110 years ago, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital.