More than 10 weeks into fiscal 2010, funding numbers for the year finally have fallen into place for several key federal construction programs. A Senate vote on Dec. 13 gave final congressional approval to a huge, $446.8-billion spending package that includes six individual appropriations bills for 2010, including transportation and military construction. Results for construction accounts were mixed. Highways, transit, General Services Administration new construction and Dept. of Veterans Affairs programs all won increases, but there were deep cuts in prisons and GSA renovations. Federal-aid highways received a 2.5% boost, thanks to a small hike in the trust-fund-financed obligation limit
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.