Action is heating up in Congress on transportation spending bills, both for 2012 and the long-delayed multiyear highway-transit measure. However, it is still up in the air how much money Congress will approve.House and Senate negotiations formally began on Nov. 3 on a fiscal 2012 appropriations package for the Depts. of Transportation, Commerce, Justice, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development. Construction officials like the Senate's numbers for key DOT programs, including a $41.1-billion highway obligation limit, the same as 2011's; $10.6 billion for mass transit, up 6% from 2011; $550 million for TIGER grants for select projects, up 4%; and
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.