Congressional and industry opposition is mounting to an Obama administration plan to use some Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund money for purposes other than dredging ports and harbors, its sole use now. At an April 13 hearing before the Senate appropriations energy and water development subcommittee, the Army's assistant secretary for civil works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said the administration plans to develop a bill in the coming months that would allow the trust fund to finance port security and other non-dredging activities. Several senators, including subcommittee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), expressed displeasure with the plan. Bills to ensure all trust-fund receipts continue
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.