France’s government has announced a $10.3-billion freight-railroad investment program that aims to take two million trucks off the roads a year by 2020 and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by over two million tonnes. At the same time, the government has begun procuring four new high-speed passenger lines totaling 660 kilometers, three of them under public-private partnerships. France’s high-speed network is planned to double in size to 4,000 km by 2020.
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.