Tag Archive for 'Light Rail & Subways'

Real Growth for 2020 Transportation Construction Market, ARTBA Chief Economist Says

he U.S. transportation infrastructure market is expected to grow at least 5 percent next year, according to the annual economic forecast released Dec. 4 by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

“The real market growth for 2020 is being fueled by increased transportation investments from federal, state and local governments,” says ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, who conducted the analysis.

Total domestic transportation construction and related-market activity in 2020 should reach $300.4 billion, up from 2019’s $286.5 billion, after adjusting for project costs and inflation.

The transportation construction market grew by 8 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, driven largely by gains in highway, street and pavement work, which grew by $9.6 billion to $73.1 billion.

Airport construction work on runways and terminals increased by less than 1 percent in 2019 but was still at record investment levels.  Strong growth in the subway, light rail and mass transit sector, as well as private railroad investment helped support a strong year for transportation construction activity.

One variable, Black says, is the outlook for the reauthorization of the FAST Act transportation law, due in 2020, and the ability of Congress to find additional revenues to support the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).  Any project delays because states are concerned about whether the next federal surface transportation bill is completed in a timely matter could temper 2020 market growth, Black added.  

Overall, transportation construction market activity is expected to increase or be steady in about half of the states, the ARTBA analysis shows.  Some of the largest markets expected to remain stable or grow include Texas, California, Illinois, New York, Florida, North Carolina, Washington, Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona and Wisconsin.

Black shared her findings during a Dec. 4 webinar for analysts, investors, transportation construction market executives, and public officials.

Other market variables include material prices, increased labor costs and labor shortages in some regions.   

Among the other key Black findings:

Public & Private Highway, Street & Related Construction  

  • The real value of public highway, street and related construction investment by state transportation departments and local governments—the largest market sector—is expected to increase by 6 percent to $77.5 billion after growing 15 percent in 2019.
  • Construction work on private highways, bridges, parking lots and driveways will increase from $69.1 billion in 2019 to $71.8 billion in 2020 and will continue to grow over the next five years as market activity increases in those sectors.

Bridges & Tunnels  

  • The pace of bridge and tunnel construction work stayed flat in 2019 and is forecast to grow by $800 million, or 3 percent, in 2020.  Bridge and tunnel market activity fell slightly from $28.8 billion in 2018 to $28.6 billion in 2019, after adjusting for project costs and inflation. 

Light Rail, Subways, & Railroads 

  • Public transit and rail construction are expected to grow from $23 billion in 2019 to $24.2 billion in 2020, a 5 percent increase. 
  • Subway and light rail investment are expected to reach a new record level, increasing from $10.3 billion this year to $11 billion in 2020.

Airport Runways & Terminals  

  • After growing 34 percent in 2018, airport terminal and related construction work, including structures like parking garages, hangars, air freight terminals and traffic towers, is estimated to increase from $18.5 billion in 2019 to $19.6 billion.
  • Runway work is forecasted to increase from $4.7 billion in 2019 to $4.9 billion in 2020.

Ports & Waterways 

  • The value of port and waterway investment should grow to $3.4 billion in 2020. Construction activity in 2019 was $3.3 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 2018. 

ARTBA’s forecast is based on a series of proprietary econometric models for each mode and analysis of federal, state and local data and market intelligence. The full forecast can be purchased at www.artbastore.org.

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

An extensive review of the ARTBA 2020 Forecast and other related materials will be available in the January issues of all Associated Construction Publications (ACP).

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.