ARTBA Forecasts 5 Percent Growth in Transportation Spending

November 25, 2013

The overall U.S. transportation infrastructure construction market is expected to grow 5 percent from $129 billion to $135.8 billion in 2014, according to The American Road & Transportation Builders Assn. (ARTBA) annual forecast.

Growth is expected in airport runway and terminal work, bridge and tunnel construction, waterways and ports, and heavy and light rail. The pavement market is expected to grow in public and private investment in highways, roads and streets, and in largely private investments in parking lots, driveways and related structures. However, The market is expected to be uneven nationwide, with ARTBA forecasting paving work to be up in 19 states, down in 20 and largely flat in the remaining 11.

According to Dr. Alison Premo Black, chief economist, uncertainty about the level of federal support for state highway programs after next September will continue to depress the road pavement market next year.

“Absent congressional action to improve the revenue stream into the federal Highway Trust Fund before next October, federal support for state programs faces a potential $40 billion cut in fiscal year 2015,” she said.  “That uncertainty is already putting a damper on state project lettings.  Congress needs to act.”

“If the federal program can be at least stabilized, the longer-term outlook for pavements could be much more positive,” Black says. “Bipartisan political support for significantly increased transportation investment has been seen in a number of bell-weather states this year, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Maryland and Massachusetts. Wyoming and Vermont passed gas tax increases for expanded investment. Eighty-five percent of the 2014 transportation investment ballot initiatives passed. And the public-private investment market is picking-up with the expansion of the federal loan guarantee program.”

TRANSPORTATION MARKET OUTLOOK

  • Bridges & Tunnels: Large projects in 10 states are expected to drive bridge and tunnel construction growth from $28.5 billion in to a record-level $30.1.
  • Ports & Waterways: The port and waterway construction market, which has grown by a third since 2011 in anticipation of increased sea trade through the Panama Canal starting in 2015, is expected to grow another $100 million, to $3.0 billion next year.
  • Airport Runways & Terminals: The total value of airport runway and terminal construction is expected to increase 17 percent to $14.7 billion in 2014, ARTBA forecasts.
  • Light Rail, Subways & Railroads: Based on recent state and local government contract awards in California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, the domestic light rail, subway and railroad construction markets are expected to see growth in 2014. 
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