The 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.
8 percent growth in 2019
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.
FAST Act effects
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. 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.
States expected to grow
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.