President Obama’s stimulus law has two parts: cash payments and tax incentives. Infrastructure and energy projects benefit from both. But the law and a recent Presidential memorandum limiting permissible lobbying for stimulus projects only provide for the oversight of direct grants. There is no federal oversight of projectsunder the Act’s tax incentives. They are accountability-exempt. The law authorizes generous new tax credits and tax-exempt borrowing. It will have a major impact on the Treasury, influencing spending priorities. Monitoring is essential. Federal oversight should leave considerable discretion to state and local governments. However, the scale of the tax subsidies counsels against
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.