February 2022 Trends
FHWA Announces 22% Boost in Core Highway Funding From IIJA
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released tables showing how much each state may benefit from a significant overall increase in core highway programs from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in its first year, fiscal 2022.
FHWA announced the funding in a notice (bit.ly/3nyLrFm) issued on Dec. 15, 2021, exactly one month after the IIJA was signed into law. The $52.5-billion total apportionment is the largest annual amount in decades, according to FHWA.
Texas will receive the largest share among the states, with $5.17 billion; California ranks second, with $4.86 billion; Florida is third, with $2.51 billion; New York ranks fourth, with $2.22 billion; and Pennsylvania is fifth, with $2.17 billion. The full state-by-state table can be viewed at bit.ly/33sE1MP.
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) claim that shifts in snowmelt patterns across North America due to climate change and warmer conditions could create “larger flooding vulnerabilities” and possibly lead to costly infrastructure failures.
Their study, recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters at bit.ly/3FCttI3, looked at previous study predictions of change in snowpack, snowmelt and runoff with the goal of translating those data into information for areas of Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Canada.
That UNH study found “mixed-phase” precipitation—the shift between snow and rain—is increasing, especially in higher elevations, making it more challenging to predict future snowmelt: a dominant driver of severe flooding. As a result, snowmelt could decrease over the continental United States and southern Canada but increase in Alaska and northern Canada.
ACEC Research Institute Releases New Engineering Industry Forecast
The ACEC Research Institute released two new reports on the Engineering and Design Services industry: the “2021 Economic Assessment of the Engineering and Design Services Industry” and a new “Engineering Business Sentiment Report for Q4 2021” (both can be accessed at programs.acec.org/impact-report-21/).
The data show the industry has rebounded from project postponements due to COVID-19, although firms identify a tight labor market and lack of qualified workers as continued barriers to growth across public and private markets.
This is the second annual release of the Engineering and Design Services industry assessment, which tracks the industry’s economic contributions, analyzes key economic drivers and forecasts industry growth.
The sentiment report, conducted before the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), tracked the sentiment of engineering leaders around the country. The report found that compared to three months earlier, respondents noted positive sentiment for transportation sectors, including Roads and Bridges (+30), Transit (+20) and Airports (+23). Looking ahead 12 months, the net rating of positive sentiment among respondents was even higher for Roads and Bridges (+69), Transit (+60) and Airports (+54).
Real estate developers and policymakers can promote equity, environmental resilience and economic mobility by investing in forward-looking infrastructure, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI). The report indicates that recognizing infrastructure, land use and real estate development as interconnected facets of the built environment is necessary to create long-term real estate and community value.
The report, “Prioritizing Effective Infrastructure-Led Development” from the ULI Curtis Infrastructure Initiative and found at bit.ly/3qC5Aw5, provides a comprehensive framework as the United States prepares to make its largest infrastructure investment in a generation. The framework identifies five key focus areas outlining that infrastructure investments should:
1. Increase equity and sustainability.
2. Invest in public transportation and mobility.
3. Combat the global threat of climate change.
4. Increase access to the internet.
5. Increase housing affordability and attainability.
Survey Reveals COVID-19’s Impact on AEC Firms
National consulting group Appleseed Strategy unveiled the results of a U.S. business survey of AEC firms to understand the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Querying a sample of 39 companies in architecture, engineering, landscape architecture and other consulting services—ranging in size from five people to 1,000-plus—Appleseed Strategy notes the following:
• Nearly 77 percent of respondents were back to pre-pandemic staffing levels.
• About 9 percent were even larger than they had been in March 2020.
• Nearly 53 percent of respondents had implemented salary cuts in at least one staff category because of the pandemic.
• Of the firms that received paycheck protection program (PPP) loans or other pandemic relief funding, about 88 percent had their loans fully or partially forgiven.
View the full report at bit.ly/3A9B4wL.
The following are the top stories from the last few months (in terms of traffic) on the Informed Infrastructure website. This also reflects key coverage areas that are regularly refreshed online and via our weekly e-newsletter. Simply search key words on Informed Infrastructure online to find the full story
- Clayco Celebrates Groundbreaking of 17-Story Student Housing Tower in Columbia, South Carolina
- Populous Completes Ken Garff Red Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah
- AISI Publishes AISI S250-21, “North American Standard for Thermal Transmittance of Building Envelopes With Cold-Formed Steel Framing, 2021 Edition”
- Skanska Builds New Hotel in Helsinki Airport
- The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Announces Design-Build Award for the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos
- Stantec Selected to Lead Two Strategic Plans for Transit-Oriented Communities Under Federal Transit Administration Grant Program
- Video: Intelligent Transportation Systems: What’s Available Today and the Vision for Tomorrow
- FAA Invests $766M to Build Safer, More Sustainable Airports
- Modular Steel Bridge from Acrow Provides Temporary Replacement for Collapsed Span in Northern Italy
- U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $24.9 Million Grant Award for the Mill Plain Bus Rapid Transit Project in Vancouver, Washington
- Denver’s Water Research Foundation Receives Nearly $1.5 Million for Research on Potential Risks from Pollutants Found in Biosolids from Wastewater Treatment
- City of Toronto Selects Trimble Unity for Water Infrastructure Management
- Video: Biological Nutrient Removal Project
- The Water Council Grows International Reach
- WSP USA and Mote Marine Laboratory Partner to Advance Coastal Restoration and Resilience
Tools and Technology
- Trimble Releases Turnkey Autonomous Robotic Scanning Solution
- Panasonic TOUGHBOOK Supports Swiss Engineering Company in Move to Paperless Construction Site
- Montana Department of Transportation Transitions to Autodesk Infrastructure Design Solutions Partnering with U.S. CAD for Deployment and Implementation
- Carbon Emissions Insights Tool Will Guide Businesses Toward Net Zero
- Topcon Announces MC-X Platform and MC-Max Machine Control Solution