ARTBA is forecasting real market growth of 3.6% for both highway and bridge construction in 2016. ARTBA’s forecast is driven by continued recovery in state and local finances, modest levels of inflation and the assumption of flat federal funding levels. “We are expecting growth in 32 states and Washington, D.C., with the market being led by California, Florida and Indiana,” says ATRBA’s chief economist, Alison Black. “Although the increase is welcome, we also see an emerging tale of two markets, with record levels of bridge work coming at the expense of highway and pavement investment.” Given limited resources, states are putting more money toward their bridge needs. Over the past 20 years, real annual growth in bridge construction has been 6%, compared to 0.4% for highways, she notes. “Our forecast of $57.9 billion in pavement activity for 2016 is actually the same level of investment we saw in 1998, when you take into account material prices, project costs and inflation,” Black says.