President Donald Trump’s administration this week confirmed it will provide its long-anticipated infrastructure proposal to Congress in January. The federal package would be split into four buckets: funding for states and localities that promise to take on more of the financial burden of infrastructure building and upkeep; block grants for rural areas; existing federal loan programs; and money for high-impact, “transformational” projects. Presidential special assistant for infrastructure policy DJ Gribbin promised a “robust debate” about the future of transportation investment and the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). At a Dec. 6 Roll Call newspaper event, he reiterated the administration’s desire to cut other parts of the federal budget to generate $200 billion in incentives to leverage $1 trillion of infrastructure investment over 10 years. Gribbin said HTF-supported program budgets will have to match federal motor fuels tax revenues rather than rely on other sources of money, such as those used to bridge the gap in the 2015 surface transportation law. He also noted the Trump administration has taken a “neutral” position on whether to hike the federal gas tax that supports the HTF. The administration first signaled its thoughts about the HTF and the $200 billion earlier this year in its FY2018 budget.
The SkillsUSA construction contests will be held February 2nd. There will be 6 contests, electrical, plumbing, masonry, solo carpentry, two-person carpentry and team build which is all the fields with a four-person team. We need to raise about $12,000 to run this event. There should be about over 160 students from 9 schools from 7 school districts. We are raising funds for materials, prizes for 1st 2nd and 3rd place in each area, food, t-shirts, programs and water. ewe hope to raise $12,000. For more information, and to donate your time and/or money, please contact Chuck Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. transportation infrastructure market is anticipated to rebound slightly next year, following a 2.8 percent drop in 2017, according to ARTBA’s annual economic forecast. Total domestic transportation construction and related-market activity is forecast to reach $255 billion in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 3.2 percent after adjusting for project costs and inflation. The 2017 market performance is expected to come in at $247.1 billion. The 2017 market drop was largely driven by the overall national decline in state and local highway and bridge spending, which is expected to be down 6.4 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively. ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black shared the findings in her multimodal forecast during a Nov. 30 webinar for analysts, investors, transportation construction market executives, and public officials. “Although the overall U.S. transportation infrastructure market will see modest growth in 2018, the situation will likely vary significantly by state and region,” Black said. The market is forecast to grow in 20 states and Washington, D.C., and slow in 23 states, with the remaining seven remaining relatively flat. Federal highway funding of state DOT programs provided by the 2015 FAST Act will continue to show inflationary growth in 2018, providing a degree of market stability in every state. Black noted that although there have been significant increases in state and local revenues for transportation purposes in many states over the past several years, some of that revenue is dedicated to debt reduction or has been delayed from reaching the transportation market due to state budget issues. These factors, combined with receding state markets due to completion of bond programs or declining or inflation-eroded state revenues, continue to cause a drag on the overall U.S. transportation infrastructure market. “The bright spots in the market continue to be airport terminals, public transit, Class 1 railroads and private driveway, street and parking lot construction associated with residential and commercial developments,” Black said.
Select market highlights in the forecast include:
Public & Private Highway, Street & Related Construction
- The real value of public highway, street and related work by state DOTs and local governments—the largest market sector—is expected to increase a modest 2.4 percent in 2018 to $58.1 billion after falling 6.4 percent to $56.8 billion in 2017.
- Six highway-related public-private partnership (P3) projects came to financial close in 2017, totaling over $7.5 billion in investment.
- Work on private highways, bridges, parking lots and driveways will increase from $62.4 billion in 2017 to $63.3 billion in 2018, and will continue to grow in the next five years.
Bridges & Tunnels
- With some major projects, such as the New NY Bridge and Ohio River Bridge reaching conclusion, the pace of bridge work has slowed. The public bridge and tunnel construction market is expected to increase slightly in 2018, to $31.3 billion. Work in 2017 is expected to be $30.5 billion, down from $33.1 billion in 2016.
Railroad, Subway & Light Rail
- Public transit and rail construction is expected to grow from $20.3 billion in 2017 to $21.3 billion in 2018, a 4.6 percent increase.
- Subway and light rail investment is expected to reach a new record level, increasing from $7.7 billion in 2017 to $8 billion in 2018.
Airport Terminals & Runways
- Airport terminal and related work, including structures like parking garages, hangars, air freight terminals and traffic towers, is expected to increase from $11.7 billion in 2017 to $13.4 billion, a 14 percent increase.
- Runway work, which has been down the last few years, is forecast to increase from $3.6 billion in 2017 to $4.1 billion in 2018.
Ports & Waterways
- The value of port and waterway investment is expected to remain flat at the $1.8 billion level. Construction activity in 2017 was down from $2 billion in 2016 and $2.4 billion in 2015.
ARTBA’s proprietary econometric model considers several economic variables at the federal, state and local level. The forecast measures the public and private value of construction put in place, published by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ARTBA estimate for the private driveway and parking lot construction market are separate.
On Friday, December 1, 2017 the Metropolitan Pima Alliance celebrated its 20th Birthday. The significance is that ATB works very closely with MPA on various policy issues as well as our very own Executive Director, Ramon Gaanderse, was their first full-time hire in 2005. Current Executive Director Amber Moore Smith as well as all previous Executive Directors emceed their annual Common Ground Awards dinner as they recognized projects over the past year that overcame significant collaboration in our community. Also, joining as emcee was Michael Guymon who is now with the Sun Corridor. It was a great evening honoring and recognizing projects including the Proposition 101-Invest in Tucson 2017 campaign as well as the Sabino Canyon bridge.
ATB Executive Director Ramon Gaanderse and Associate Committee Member Fred Narcaroti met with Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, Ana Olivares, Carmine DeBonis and Yves Khawam to discuss construction materials testing services and the Pima County Department of Transportation Materials Testing Laboratory. The focus of this conversation was to discuss the differences municipalities have regarding the oversight of quantities and specifications related to construction testing on transportation projects. Depending upon the delivery method for transportation projects, the QA/QC components differ from other agencies in Southern Arizona. This initial conversation will focus on acclimating the process in how the County handles QA/QC services on transportation projects. This may also lead to a better incorporation of the Qualified Consultants List to work with the County on handling projects on a temporary staffing basis like the Temp Tech program with ADOT. Please stay tuned as the conversation continues.
In other County News….Please note that the Board of Supervisors adopted the subdivision street standards ordinance modification last week requiring a treatment be applied to new asphaltic concrete public subdivision local and minor collector streets. The SDSS has been updated to reflect this change as well as a new web page indicating approved products. These are listed at http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=63368.
President Trump and congressional leaders are quickly moving forward with an overhaul of the U.S. tax code. Disappointingly, neither the House nor Senate proposed tax bills currently includes a Highway Trust Fund (HTF) fix. But, the process is just beginning, and the legislation will continue to evolve. Addressing the HTF’s fiscal imbalance now as part of the tax reform makes economic and political sense. Over the last 30 years, all enhancements to the trust fund’s revenue stream have come as part of broad tax or budget packages. A permanent HTF solution as part of tax reform would ease the prospects for the infrastructure package Congress and President Trump say is next on their policy agenda.
What You Can Do
Your senators and representative need to hear that you expect them to look for opportunities to inject a long-term HTF fix as the tax reform process moves forward. Please call 202.224.3121, ask to speak with the legislative assistant who handles transportation issues, and tell them:
- I agree with the group of 253 bipartisan House members who wrote to House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Ranking Democrat Richard Neal (D-Mass.) earlier this year that a permanent Highway Trust Fund solution should be part of any tax reform plan and that all user-fee revenue options should be on the table to rectify this situation once and for all;
- Waiting until the next trust fund crisis to act has repeatedly led to last-minute, short-term patches that dilute state efforts to implement long-term transportation improvement plans;
- Stabilizing and growing federal surface transportation investment would help achieve many of the goals sought in reforming the tax code, specifically creating jobs and enhancing U.S. economic competitiveness
- If Congress does not act, the Highway Trust Fund will face annual revenue shortfalls of $18 billion once the FAST Act expires; and
- Congress has a narrow window to address this situation before states will once again be forced to begin delaying projects due to uncertainty about future federal funds.
You can also use the ARTBA Grassroots Action Center to deliver a similar message via email, tweet and post on the Facebook page of your elected officials.
Voters in 20 states approved more than 80 percent of the 215 transportation investment ballot measures on Nov. 7th. Most of the measures were at the local level, according to analysis conducted by ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (ARTBA-TIAC). The approved measures will support $2.9 billion in new transportation investment revenue and $1.3 billion in continued funding through tax extensions or renewals. The timing of the market impact of these actions is difficult to project as revenue approved will last for 25 years. Preliminary results show voters approved 176 of the 215 measures, or 82 percent. Results are still pending in six Michigan localities. Maine voters approved the only statewide measure—a $105 million transportation infrastructure bond— with 72 percent support. Including the most recent results, voters have approved 74 percent of over 1,200 transportation investment ballot measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC since 2007. The complete report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at www.transportationinvestment.org.
ADOT held its bi-annual Small Business Conference in Tucson this past week, something that will continue. Over 200 attendees were on hand with an award ceremony and lots of learning. That’s what we would like to highlight, as one of our members was recognized at the event. Eagle EGC, LLC dba Miura Contracting was awarded the 2017 ADOT DBE & Small Business Trailblazer Award at the 2017 ADOT DBE and Small Business Conference (November 8 & 9). This award recognizes their entrepreneurial spirit and positive contributions to diversity and growth in the transportation industry. Congrats to Miura Contracting and their team for this amazing recognition. ATB also sponsored the event by showing support for these types of events that benefit all our members. We are working closely with ADOT representatives to assist in helping them open an office in Tucson and making a presence for members like ours.
New Jersey voters also showed their support for transportation funding on Tuesday by reelecting all 61 state lawmakers who backed the state’s 2016 gas tax increase. An earlier ARTBA-TIAC report found voting for a state gas tax increase does not hurt reelection chances. The analysis of over 2,500 state legislators from 16 states who voted to increase state gas taxes for transportation funding found that 91 percent were returned to office in the next general election.
Thanks so much to Allan Henson, Director of Transportation for McCraren Compliance for speaking at our Regional meeting last week. Allan was honored this year to be involved with Road Check 2017 as an observer in Flagstaff through the Arizona Rock Products. Having been a driver himself for over twenty-two years with FedEx Freight, he knew from a driver’s perspective how they felt when getting pulled into an inspection. So, it was interesting finding out from a DOT Enforcement officer’s perspective of how they felt, what was their point of emphasis and finally how do they normally approach the situation. Road Check is an annual program that looks at drivers, paperwork and equipment for commercial motor vehicles. There are three separate levels of inspection depending primarily on the location. A level one inspection is an in-depth procedure covering a 37-step process, where as a level two and three subsequently cover different aspects of inspection. Every year CVSA targets special safety aspects of a Commercial Motor Vehicle. This year’s focus was on cargo securement. Although cargo securement is a normal part of the inspection process, it was given specific emphasis this year due to the numerous safety violations DOT and the CVSA have seen over the past year. According to DOT/CVSA the leading cause for cargo securement violations are: debris, unsecured spare tires and chains. For more information please visit McCraren Compliance directly.