Road Builders: 2020 transportation market gains outpace inflation

Source: American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Washington, D.C.

The U.S. transportation infrastructure market is expected to grow at least 5 percent next year, fueled by increased federal, state and local government investment, according to the just-released forecast from American Road & Transportation Builders Association Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black. Total 2020 construction and related-market activity should reach $300.4 billion, up from $286.5 billion this year after adjusting for project costs and inflation.

Transportation construction has climbed 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 has increased by less than 1 percent in 2019, but remains at record investment levels. Strong growth in the subway, light rail and mass transit sector, as well as private railroad investment have helped round out a strong year for ARTBA members.

Among 2020 market variables, Dr. Black cites reauthorization of the FAST Act transportation law, expiring September 30, and the ability of Congress to find additional revenues to support the Highway Trust Fund: Any project delays rooted in state agency concerns over whether the FAST successor is completed in a timely matter could temper growth. 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. The outlook is based on a series of proprietary econometric models for each transportation mode, coupled with analysis of federal, state and local data and market intelligence. The full forecast can be purchased at