Mild January weather contributed to a 4.3-percent increase in highway construction compared to January 2012, said the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Even with the jump, ARTBA chief economist Alison Premo Black warned that the trend may not continue.
She said that although the recent uptick is positive news and that states have recently been obligating federal dollars at a good pace, contract awards for highway projects have been down, and nearly half the states are pulling back on their programs.
“We are looking to see how state and local governments will deal with the federal budget sequestration, which went into effect March 1,” she said. “While the federal highway, airport and non-capital transit investments will not be cut, the reductions in other programs adds further uncertainty into an already challenging situation for many state budgets.”