High-speed rail advocates celebrated the Jan. 28 award of grants from the $8-billion pot that is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but officials must now figure out how to leverage the seed money into successful long-term programs. California and Florida, the anticipated big grant winners at $2.25 billion and $1.25 billion, respectively, are now pondering design-build and public-private partnerships along with other funding sources. + Image Image: U.S. DOT Florida, California and the Midwest all received big chunks of ARRA grants. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation was flooded with applications, receiving $57 billion in project funding proposals.
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.