In January, Obama turned down a permit for the pipeline. Project sponsor TransCanada filed a revised application, which the State Dept. is reviewing.
Sandherr also says the outcome of the election “increases the prospects for some legislation on multi-employer pension reform.” Multi-employer plans cover about 10.1 million people, more than a third of whom are in the construction industry. Many of those pension plans are underfunded.
Sandherr also predicts, “We are going to see more aggressive activity on the regulatory front.” For example, industry officials expect the Environmental Protection Agency to release new guidance to determine which wetlands should be subject to federal, rather than state, jurisdiction.
ARTBA’s Bauer also notes that the Dept. of Transportation still must issue regulations to implement elements of MAP-21, including provisions aimed at expediting transportation projects’ environmental reviews and dealing with the performance-management process for highways and transit. He says ARTBA wants to see that DOT’s regs follow the intent of Congress in those areas.
Sandherr doesn’t expect robust expansion in the overall economy, which would mean private construction markets won’t see major growth. Obama in his speeches has advocated public-works spending. But given the pressure to reduce the deficit, Sandherr says, “We are going to see challenges in federal funding for public construction projects.”
This story was modified from an earlier version to include comments from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner.