But even as some projects have gone forward, such as the $555-million overhaul of the Kosciuszko Bridge that spans Newtown Creek, the border between Brooklyn and Queens, and the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River, Riverso noted that state transportation departments have been handicapped because of a lack of infrastructure spending at the national level. There have been stop-gap bills, but the federal government has yet to pass a transportation bill.

In a role reversal, federal funding for the Gateway Project is on hold, awaiting a political accord between the governors of New York and New Jersey.

The predecessor project, Access to the Region's Core, was canceled in 2010 when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) refused to fund it. ARC has been replaced by an Amtrak-sponsored project that encompasses multiple moving parts and has an initial cost estimate of $8 billion to $15 billion.

Amtrak's Gateway project envisions two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River, adding to rail lines in Newark, extending New York's Penn Station further south, replacing aging bridges in New Jersey and repairing Sandy-related damage to the existing tunnels under the Hudson River. Gateway faces two big hurdles, says Dan Schned, manager of The Northeast Alliance for Rail. New York and New Jersey must reach political agreement and find a sponsor, and a financing plan has to be put in place.

Meanwhile, in September 2013, Amtrak secured $185 million from the Dept. of Transportation's Sandy relief fund to build two encased rail tunnels under the massive Hudson Yards project now being built in Manhattan's West Side, just west of Penn Station.

While the 800-ft tunnels will not extend under the Hudson River, they would be necessary for the Gateway project to move forward. STV did design work for the tunnel boxes. The job is set to be done in October.

Political stalemates aside, Riverso is generally hopeful that states will have more leeway to act as the rising economy raises tax coffers in the region.

And although the residential sector has not been a significant STV market, Riverso says the growth in that sector could benefit the firm because residential feeds the need for more roads, trains and schools.

STV's strategic plan calls for a 50-50 mix of organic growth and acquisitions. "Organic growth is usually a little slower, especially in a new geography," Riverso says. M&A enables a quicker expansion, "especially in places where you don't have a portfolio," he points out.

In February 2014, STV acquired GWD, an energy services firm in Denver that provides design, engineering, procurement and construction services to the midstream natural gas processing market.

In March, the firm bought Diversified Project Management, a provider of owner's PM services in New England with offices in Newton, Mass., and Hartford. Recent projects include managing construction of Boston Medical Center's ambulatory care center.