January – February 2016 TRENDS
The Facts of the FAST Act
The five-year transportation bill known as “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST Act) provides more than $305 billion to surface-transportation programs. This marks the first long-term transportation bill since 2009 and has many in the infrastructure industry excited about stable and consistent funding that will have a positive impact on roadways and engineering employment.
The following facts about the bill were collected from multiple sources:
- Targets $207.4 billion ($41.5 billion annually) to the federal-aid highway system (a nearly 10 percent increase over the current program).
- Provides $100 million per year for Intelligent Transportation Systems research.
- Includes a Smart Cities Transportation Planning Study to examine how digital and information technologies are being adopted by cities.
- Requires design standards to consider “cost savings by utilizing flexibility that exists in current design guidance and regulations.”
- Adds the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Highway Safety Manual, and the Urban Street Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials to the list of resources for developing design criteria.
- The Portland Cement Association estimates that the legislation will add an average of 835 thousand tons of cement each year from 2016-2020.
- Continues the Federal Highway Administration’s Every Day Counts initiative to work with states, local agencies and industry stakeholders to identify and deploy proven innovative practices and products that accelerate innovation deployment, shorten the project-delivery process, improve environmental sustainability, enhance roadway safety and reduce congestion.
- Establishes a Performance Management Data Support program to develop, use and maintain datasets and data-analysis tools to help states and metropolitan planning organizations carry out performance-management analyses.
- Creates a new $60 million per year Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Program to develop model deployment sites for large-scale installation and operation of advanced transportation technologies.
Hiring Surge and Construction Growth
Nearly 300,000 new jobs were created in December 2015, according to the Labor Department. This marked the fifth straight year of employment gains, with the unemployment rate unchanged at 5 percent. Construction companies added 45,000 new workers in this period, indicating an ongoing rise in the sector.
A new report, “Global Construction Perspectives, Oxford Economics,” estimates that the growth in American construction activity will actually outpace China during the next 15 years, averaging 5 percent growth per year.
“China’s share of the world construction market will increase only marginally as growth slows in the world’s largest construction market to 2030. In comparison, U.S. construction will grow faster than China over the next 15 years—growing by an average of 5 percent per annum. Meanwhile, we’re due to see a surge in construction rates in India as it overtakes Japan to become the world’s third-largest construction market by 2021,” says Graham Robinson, executive director, Global Construction Perspectives.
The fastest pace of U.S. growth will occur in the southern states, as they will continue to have the highest population growth. For more information, visit www.globalconstruction2030.com.
- New Standard Supports High-Tech Management of Facility Assets
- Self-Compacting Concrete Now Fire Resistant
- Inventor from Building Technologies Honored
- Emerald Cities Seattle Launches RENEW Multi-Family, Bringing Energy, Water Savings to Affordable Housing
- Sustainable and Safe Concrete Structures? Testing the Seismic Behavior of Full-Scale Recycled Concrete Structures
- Pennsylvania Plow Trucks Now Tracked Publicly
- U.S. Department of Transportation and Mobileye Partner to Equip Smart City Challenge Winner
- Arizona’s South Mountain Freeway to be Constructed as Public-Private Partnership
- Winning Ideas Chosen in CalTrans $25K Innovation Contest
- CTDOT to Test Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Bridge Inspection
- Civil Engineering Researchers to Participate in Flood Reconnaissance Mission
- Interior Department Proposes Adaptive Management Framework for Glen Canyon Dam
- Puerto Rico Funds Stormwater Improvements after EPA Settlement
- The Mississippi River Rises Fast, Impacting Infrastructure and Evacuating River Towns
- New Orleans Receives $2 Billion Settlement from FEMA for Post-Hurricane Katrina Stormwater Reconstruction
Tools and Technology
- BTS Releases Pocket Guide to Transportation 2016
- Innovyze Ships InfoWater 2D: Next Generation of Two-Dimensional Modeling of Water Spill from Catastrophic Main Breaks
- AirVisual Launches Free Air Pollution Forecasts for more than 5,000 Cities Worldwide
- Virtalis Unveils Visionary Render Software
- German Town of Albstadt Tackles Virtual and Augmented Reality