Tag Archive for 'contractors'

ABC Reports: Overall Construction Input Prices Firm in December as Energy Prices Surge

Construction input prices rebounded in December after experiencing a steep decline in November, according to analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Input prices rose 0.4 percent for the month and are up 2.1 percent year-over-year, the largest 12-month increase in 30 months.

Nonresidential input prices collectively experienced a slightly larger increase, due in part to surging iron and steel prices, rising 0.6 percent for the month and 2.2 percent on the year. Though a number of input categories have experienced significant increases in prices in recent months, the overall price gains are largely attributable to energy prices. Crude petroleum prices rose 18.9 percent for the month, natural gas prices rose 23.1 percent and unprocessed energy materials rose 14.6 percent. Concrete products and the category that includes prepared asphalt experienced minimal declines in prices in December.

“While there are a number of factors that have contributed to the recent firming in input prices, recent deals made by OPEC and non-OPEC members to suppress oil production is the most consequential,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While oil prices remain above where they were before production agreements were reached, the price of oil has generally failed to rise much beyond $50.

“Other factors have also led to a steady rise in materials prices including an improving global economy,” said Basu. “While not accelerating dramatically, global economic growth in 2017 is expected to exceed 2016’s performance, with nations like Brazil and Russia no longer mired in deep recessions. U.S. economic growth is also expected to be stronger in 2017, lifting the overall global economic outlook and supporting more bullish commodity markets.

“It is probably too early for contractors to become excessively preoccupied with rising materials prices,” said Basu. “Despite recent signs of economic improvement, massive levels of debt and commercial vacancy in much of the world will constrain both worldwide economic growth and global construction. Moreover, commodity traders among others are well aware that the planet is physically able to supply plenty of oil, natural gas and many other commodities, particularly if prices rise further. That knowledge in and of itself tends to place a lid on input price increases absent a major geopolitical event.”

December Construction Input Prices

ARTBA Outlines for New Trump Administration Regulatory Reforms to Help Speed Transportation Project Delivery

More than 20 federal regulations and other policy actions are affecting, and in some cases, hindering the ability to complete transportation improvement projects efficiently, safely, in a timely manner and in the best interests of U.S. taxpayers, according to a comprehensive new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

“Ripe for Reform: Federal Regulatory Issues Impacting Transportation Project Delivery” is aimed at assisting the incoming administration’s previously announced review of federal regulations, and has already been shared with transition officials. The recommendations were developed with input from ARTBA’s public and private sector members, and its state contractor chapter affiliates.

The association is also distributing the report to House and Senate transportation leaders and their staffs, and plans to share it with new federal agency officials following the Jan. 20 inauguration.

Citing President-elect Donald Trump’s oft-stated commitment to investing major dollars to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, ARTBA notes that “(l)essening the transportation construction industry’s unreasonable regulatory burden will maximize the value of the significant new dollars being invested in transportation improvement projects, unleash innovation in designing and building them, and take full advantage of job-creation possibilities.”

The compilation document addresses existing rules, proposed rules, guidance and executive orders currently in place, a flurry of which have been issued by the Obama administration. These include regulations and policies administered by the: U.S. States Department of Transportation (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, project labor agreements, hours of service); Environmental Protection Agency (Waters of the U.S., Clean Air Act standards); Department of Labor (silica exposure and recordkeeping); Department of the Interior (Endangered Species Act); and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (greenhouse gas).

Read the full report.

Established in 1902, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, courts, news media and general public.

TRIP Reports: Deficient Roadways Cost Montana Drivers $794 Million Annually.

 

Mdt Forecasts Annual Funding Shortfall Of Nearly $900 Million, Halting Or Delaying Projects Needed To Improve Conditions, Enhance Economic Development Or Improve Safety

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Montana motorists a total of $794 million statewide annually – as much as $1,417 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national nonprofit transportation research organization. These high costs come at a time when the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) estimates it will face an annual funding shortfall of $874 million through 2021, causing many needed projects to be halted or delayed. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, relieve traffic congestion and support long-term economic growth in Montana.

The TRIP report, Montana Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Montana, 34 percent of major urban roads are in poor condition and nearly one-fifth of Montana’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s traffic fatality rate is the third highest in the nation. Montana’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year.

The MDT estimates it will face an $874 million average annual shortfall through 2021 in the investment level needed to make further progress in improving road, highway and bridge conditions; improving traffic safety; and, completing needed modernization improvements to enhance economic development opportunities. As a result of a lack of transportation funding, MDT has delayed $144.5 million in road projects that had been scheduled to begin in 2017.

Driving on deficient roads costs Montana drivers $794 million per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Billings, Great Falls and Missoula urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 34 percent of major urban roads in Montana are in poor condition, while 40 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 26 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Montana drivers an additional $296 million each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

We’ve been talking about our failing infrastructure and lack of funding for a long time now and have very little to show for all that hand-wringing,” said Darryl James, executive director of the Montana Infrastructure Coalition. “It’s time for a little less talk and a lot more action.”

A total of 18 percent of Montana’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Eight percent of Montana’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional ten percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“The Montana Infrastructure Coalition is bringing a balanced package of bills supported by a broad spectrum of Montanans,” said Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  “We expect some tough discussions but believe Montana’s lawmakers are ready to step to the plate and work on real solutions to these very real problems. We’re anxious to share our research and data to play a central role in that discussion.”

Traffic crashes in Montana claimed the lives of 1,024 people between 2010 and 2014. Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.08 and is the third highest in the nation. The fatality rate on Montana’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.41 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014, approximately three times higher than the 0.79 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

“Our transportation system is truly the network that binds our communities together in Montana,” said Steve Arveschoug, executive director of the Big Sky Economic Development Authority. “Our economic security depends on smart investment in infrastructure and it begins with clean water and roads and bridges that are safe and efficient.”

Traffic congestion in Montana is worsening, costing the state’s drivers $170 million annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

The efficiency and condition of Montana’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $101 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Montana, mostly by truck. Sixty-seven percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Montana are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“Conditions will worsen and additional projects will be delayed if greater funding is not made available at the state and local levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate investment, Montana’s roads and bridges will become increasingly deteriorated, inefficient and unsafe, hampering economic growth and quality of life.”

Executive Summary

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Montana

 

 

 

$874 million

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) estimates it will face an $874 million average annual shortfall through 2021 in the investment level needed to make further progress in improving road, highway and bridge conditions; improving traffic safety; and, completing needed modernization improvements to enhance economic development opportunities.
 

50

This report includes information on 50 road, highway and bridge projects that currently cannot proceed due to lack of funding. These projects are needed to improve safety, support economic development opportunities and improve conditions in Montana.
$144.5 million The MDT has delayed $144.5 million in road projects that had been scheduled to begin in 2017 because of a lack of adequate funding.
 

32 percent

5th

25 percent

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Montana increased by 32 percent from 2000 to 2015 –from 9.9 billion VMT in 2000 to 13 billion VMT in 2015. This was the fifth largest increase in VMT in the nation during that time. VMT in Montana is anticipated to increase by another 25 percent by 2030.
 

$794 million

Driving on deficient roads costs Montana motorists a total of $794 million annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
$1,113 – Billings

$1,417– Great Falls

$1,152 – Missoula

 

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Driving on deficient roads costs the average Billings urban area driver $1,113 annually, while the average driver in the Great Falls area loses $1,417 and the average driver in the Missoula area loses $1,152.
1.58

3rd

Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 was the third highest in the U.S. and much higher than the national average of 1.08.
34% – Montana

30% – Billings

52% – Great Falls

26% – Missoula

Thirty-four percent of Montana’s major urban roads are in poor condition. In the Billings, Great Falls and Missoula urban areas, 30 percent, 52 percent and 26 percent of major roads are in poor condition, respectively.
$101 Billion Annually, $101 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Montana, mostly by truck.
 

18%

A total of 18 percent of Montana bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Eight percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and ten percent are functionally obsolete.

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Montana’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Montana, which is greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, has a significant impact on quality of life in the Treasure State.

An efficient, safe and well-maintained transportation system provides economic and social benefits by affording individuals access to employment, housing, healthcare, education, goods and services, recreation, entertainment, family, and social activities. It also provides businesses access to suppliers, markets and employees, all critical to a business’ level of productivity and ability to expand. Reduced accessibility and mobility – as a result of traffic congestion, a lack of adequate capacity, or deteriorated roads, highways, bridges and transit facilities – diminishes a region’s quality of life by reducing economic productivity and limiting opportunities for economic, health or social transactions and activities.

With an economy based largely on natural resource extraction, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, the quality of Montana’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

In the TRIP report, TRIP looks at the top transportation numbers in Montana as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.


Sources of information for this report include the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To review the complete report visit:  www.tripnet.org

TRIP Reports: PUBLIC AFFAIRS EXECUTIVE TO CHAIR NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH NONPROFIT IN 2017

A Washington, DC, public affairs executive has been elected 2017 chairman of the Board of Directors of TRIP, a private, national transportation research nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.
Nick Yaksich, senior vice president for government and industry relations for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), leads the Washington, DC, office of AEM and joined the TRIP Board of Directors in 1999, serving on its executive committee since 2001. AEM is a trade group of more than 900 construction, agricultural, mining, and forestry equipment manufacturers and related business services. AEM is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has offices in Washington, DC; Ottawa, Canada; and Beijing, China.
“AEM has supported TRIP’s efforts since TRIP was formed in 1971,” Mr. Yaksich said. “I am honored to serve as the next chairman of TRIP, an organization that has done tremendous work increasing public awareness of the need to invest in America’s surface transportation infrastructure for almost five decades.”
In addition to his service to TRIP, Mr. Yaksich is a member of the executive committee of Americans for Transportation Mobility and is a past chairman of The Road Gang, Washington’s Transportation Fraternity.
TRIP elected the following individuals as officers for 2017: President: Tom Brown, President, Sierra Pacific West, Encinitas, Calif.; Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer: Jeffrey DiStefano, Vice President & COO, Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors, Inc., Glenmont, N.Y.; and, Vice President: Kenneth K. Wert, President, Haskell Lemon Construction Co., Oklahoma City, Okla.
TRIP also elected the following individuals to its Board of Directors: Donn Diederich, Executive Vice President, Industrial Builders, Inc., Fargo, N.D.; Will Griffin, Account Executive, American Global LLC, Miami, Fla.; Ashley Jackson, Director of Government Affairs, NAPA, Lanham, Md.; and, Michele Stanley, Director of Government Affairs, NSSGA, Alexandria, Va.

Founded in 1971, TRIP ® of Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues. TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction; labor unions; and organizations concerned with efficient and safe surface transportation.

Link-Belt Unveils Second Phase of Operator Control System – Pulse 2.0

Link-Belt Construction Equipment announces the next evolution of its patented crane operating system, Link-Belt Pulse 2.0. Based on ongoing operator and customer feedback, the intuitive design of Link-Belt Pulse 2.0 provides a simple interface for crane operators with a larger display, along with programmable features that allow each operator to customize their display; and software can be updated remotely.

New touch screen and start up

The most visible difference to Link-Belt’s Pulse 2.0 is the new 10 in. (25.4 cm) display, 47 percent larger than the original Pulse screen. It has been carefully selected to deliver a high resolution screen tough enough for harsh operating environments. A resistive touch screen can be used with gloves and be seen in direct sunlight with larger, clearer images; and the unit is pivot-mounted for optimal viewing. The interface is more dynamic throughout the operating system, with larger buttons and interactive indicator lights displayed on the margins.

Operation  

Once in the seat of the cab, operator startup is quick and easy with faster hardware/software response as well as fewer required operator inputs. Electronic level/list display as well as ground bearing calculator are integrated depending on model. Operators who may have felt “overwhelmed” in the past by other crane operating systems will find the 2.0 system to be the system of choice going forward. One specific feature added based on operator input is the ability to shut off the engine and still maintain the live display data for an extended period of time.

Over the air software updates

One of the most exciting enhancements with Link-Belt Pulse 2.0 is the ability to service and update a crane’s software remotely. The system includes a Wi-Fi hub and uses the serial number of the unit to determine whether any updates are available, and downloads/installs to the appropriate controller. Software maintenance can be accomplished in the field without a service call or bringing the crane in for service.

Link-Belt’s new Pulse 2.0 will be showcased at ConExpo 2017 on new crane models and demonstration units.

                Link-Belt Construction Equipment Company, with headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky, is a leader in the design and manufacture of telescopic boom and lattice boom cranes for the construction industry worldwide.

Complete crane specifications are available at www.linkbelt.com.