As Congress begins a short pre-election session, its must-pass list includes construction measures with Sept. 30 deadlines: appropriations for fiscal year 2011, which starts on Oct. 1, and a Federal Aviation Administration authorization that covers airport grants. A bill aimed at aiding small businesses also is advancing. With only a few weeks left before a congressional recess, action on other bills probably will be deferred until an expected lame-duck session. In that post-election session, Congress would face decisions on extending income-tax breaks, Build America bonds and surface-transportation program—all of which expire on Dec. 31. Other measures, including an energy bill,
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.