Rock Products

JAN 2019

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www.rockproducts.com ROCK products • January 2019 • 31 heed as they consider a bipartisan infrastructure package and permanent revenue solution for Highway Trust Fund programs next year," said ARTBA Acting President and CEO William D. Toohey Jr. The California repeal attempt was part of a larger effort by Congressional leaders to increase Republican voter turnout in several key California Congressional districts. "In ginning up and funding the Prop. 6 repeal initiative as a 'get out the vote' ploy, the U.S. House Republican leadership nearly deprived California citizens and businesses of over $5 billion a year in transportation congestion relief projects. That was both wrong and short-sighted," Toohey added. Additional highlights of the TIAC report include: •  A proposed state gas tax increase in Missouri met unex- pected resistance at the polls, with voters rejecting the measure 54 percent to 46 percent. • In Colorado, voters rejected two measures to provide new transportation investments. Proposition 109, a measure to provide one-time funding with a $3.5 billion bond, was rejected 39 percent to 61 percent. Proposition 110, which would have increased the state sales tax by 0.62 percent for 20 years and provided an initial jumpstart with a $6 billion bond, also failed, 40 percent to 60 percent. • Statewide measures to protect transportation funds from being diverted to non-transportation purposes passed in Connecticut and Louisiana. Earlier in the year, voters approved 192 measures for an additional $6.4 billion in transportation revenue. The market impact of these ballot measures is difficult to project as rev- enue approved ranges from immediate one-time investment to a contribution made annually for as long as 30 years. Transportation Construction Forecast The U.S. transportation infrastructure market is expected to grow 4.2 percent in 2019, according to the annual economic forecast released Dec. 5 by the American Road & Transpor- tation Builders Association (ARTBA). Increased transportation investment by federal, state and local governments will help drive the growth across all modes, ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black said. Total domestic transportation construction and relat- ed-market activity is projected to reach $278.1 billion, up from 2018's $266.9 billion, after adjusting for project costs and inflation. The transportation construction market also grew by 4.2 per- cent in 2018 compared to 2017, driven largely by gains in airport terminal and runway construction, which increased by $5.8 billion, or 33 percent. Spending on public highway and street construction rose by $2.7 billion in 2018. Black shared the findings in her multimodal forecast during a webinar for analysts, investors, transportation construction market executives and public officials. One wild card in the forecast, Black said, is the outlook for the scheduled 2020 reauthorization of the FAST Act sur- face transportation law and the ability of Congress to find additional revenues to support the Highway Trust Fund. "If states start delaying transportation improvement projects in response to uncertainty over the future of the federal pro- gram, it will temper 2019 market growth," Black said. Although the overall U.S. transportation infrastructure market will see growth next year, the situation will likely vary significantly by state and region, according to Black. Highway construction market activity is expected to increase in about half of the states and Washington, D.C., California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia have shown significant increases in contract awards over the last year, a leading indicator of highway construction activity in those states. The market should be steady in another five states, with activity expected to slow down in about 20 states. Some additional factors could impact the highway market in 2018 and beyond, such as developments in Federal Highway Investment. Congress is currently working on the passage of a FY 2019 appropriations bill that could provide an additional $3 to $4 billion in federal-aid high- way program investment. The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to begin making awards from the $1.5 billion Better Utilizing Invest- ments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program that was approved in the 2018 appropriations bill. This is the discre- tionary program formerly known as the TIGER grants. The potential passage of a federal infrastructure bill or the inclusion of a permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund remains a wild card in the highway market forecast. Any 2019 Transportation Construction Growth Public & Private Highway, Street & Related Construction Up 5 percent Bridges & Tunnels Up 1.5 percent Light Rail, Subways, & Railroads Up 5.7 percent Airport Runways & Terminals Up 4.5 percent. Ports & Waterways Up 3 percent Source: ARTBA

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