Related Links: Q & A With Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Karen Rae Since July, the Federal Railroad Administration has pushed to obligate more than $2 billion for high-speed rail, most of it provided by the 2009 stimulus act and, since then, awarded to states and Amtrak. Obligations are a key milestone. Karen Rae, FRA deputy administrator, says, “It basically clears the way for project delivery, ranging from environmental [studies], preliminary engineering, final design and, in many cases, construction.” Industry firms welcome the new work because markets are tough and nearly all other American Recovery and Reinvestment Act infrastructure aid
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.