Road Builders chief frames user fee case in wake of California gas tax vote

Sources: American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Negative election day response to a proposed roll back of a 2017 California Senate measure increasing state gasoline taxes by 12 cents/gallon elicited a strong defense of user fee-based funding models from ARTBA Acting President & CEO William Toohey, Jr.: “By soundly rejecting Proposition 6 and re-electing 95 percent of the state legislators who voted in 2017 to increase the state gas tax to fund needed transportation improvements, California voters showed the public continues to support a user funded approach to infrastructure investment. That’s a message the Trump administration and new Congress should heed as they consider a bipartisan infrastructure package and permanent revenue solution for Highway Trust Fund programs next year.”

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Infrastructure study findings bode well for precast methods

Sources: Freedonia Group, Cleveland; CP staff

Demand for precast concrete in infrastructure contracts is projected to increase 4.4 percent annually, to $2.4 billion by 2022, with growth fueled by the need to repair the nation’s aging network of bridges, highways, roads and railroad tracks; increased adoption of the method over traditional cast-in-place alternatives; and, efforts by the federal government to increase surface transportation investment. 

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Economist confirms largest construction materials price surge in seven years

Sources: Associated Builders & Contractors, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Prices for inputs to construction materials expanded 1.3 percent in April and are 6.4 percent higher than at the same time one year ago, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The figures are the largest respective month-over-month and year-over-year increases since 2015 and 2011. 

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Contractors paint dire jobs, cost consequences in steel, aluminum tariff aftermath

Sources: Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Responding to President Donald Trump’s March 8 order applying respective 25 percent and 10 percent tariffs to steel and aluminum imports from countries outside the NAFTA region, AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr noted: “These tariffs will cause significant harm to the nation’s construction industry, put tens of thousands of high-paying construction jobs at risk, undermine the President’s proposed infrastructure initiative and potentially dampen demand for new construction.

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Builders renew plea for Trump to level federal contract field, sans PLA mandates

Sources: Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), Washington, D.C.; CP staff

ABC and a coalition of construction and business associations continue to urge President Donald Trump to eliminate government-mandated project labor agreements (PLA) on federal and federally assisted projects.

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Private equity firm brings regional materials labs under Atlas banner

Sources: Bernhard Capital Partners Management, LP, Baton Rouge, La.; CP staff

A Bernhard Capital-led group has acquired construction materials and infrastructure management specialists Engineering and Testing Services Corp., Oakland, Calif.; Moreland Altobelli Associates, Duluth, Ga.; and Pavetex Engineering LLC, Lubbock, Texas, combining them under Atlas Technical Consultants.

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Road Builders see minor 2018 transportation construction rebound

Sources: American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

After a 2.8 percent year-over-year decline in 2017, total domestic transportation construction and related-market outlays are projected to reach $255 billion next year, according to the ARTBA Transportation Construction Market Forecast.

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Lead economist projects 3 percent growth in 2018 construction activity

Sources: Dodge Data & Analytics, New York; CP staff

Total U.S. construction starts for 2018 will reach $765 billion, a 3 percent gain from this year’s projected level of $745 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics Chief Economist Robert Murray, who cites several positive factors suggesting the construction expansion that began in 2012 “has further room to proceed.”

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PCA factors weather, agency budgets in minor 2017-18 forecast revisions

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; CP staff

The latest PCA forecast of U.S. cement consumption sees year-over-year gains of 2.6 percent and 2.8 percent in 2017 and 2018 versus uniform 3 percent levels projected earlier this year. Bad weather, especially in the high volume concrete markets of Florida and Texas, coupled with lower anticipated public construction sector budgets are behind the more modest growth outlook.

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Steel fiber specialist adds capacity as infrastructure market prospects grow

Sources: Helix Steel, Grand Rapids, Mich.; CP staff

Helix Steel is stepping up production of its namesake Twisted Steel Micro Rebar, citing higher sales fueled by a renewed focus on rebuilding tunnels, highways, bridges, dams and other critical infrastructure. Capacity expansion reaffirms what management calls a “commitment to continued ISO 9001:2015-certified American manufacturing, increasing jobs, and driving local economic development in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan.”

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