Applications are in for the first batch of federal high-speed-rail grants financed largely by $8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. An unofficial round-one tally shows states are seeking about $6.6 billion. That is far below the $102.5 billion in “pre-applications” states filed in July, but it reflects the first round’s emphasis on individual projects that are ready to start. Moreover, with the construction industry struggling, the new applications represent a substantial amount of potential infrastructure work, including bright possibilities for engineering firms. The dollars are expected to be even larger in the next round of applications, which
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.