The money now is flowing from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for a variety of construction projects, ranging from simple paving jobs to sophisticated energy-efficiency revamps of federal buildings. But something is missing—public support. The economic-stimulus funding bill that Congress passed in February allocated $787 billion for the overall economic mission, but only about $130 billion for construction. Tenn-TomWaterway Yet the most visible aspects of the stimulus are the construction projects, and the ones under way do little to lift people’s spirits, give them hope about the future or cause them to open their wallets and start spending again.
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.