"I think the past, the past is behind us / Be real confusing if not, but anyway."listen here

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forecast for 2010

$400-million road projectLegoland Florida$325-million mixed-use project$75-million spring-training facility$1.25 billion in high-speed rail funding$100-billion private-sector investment fund$223-million maglev line

$8 billion in loan guaranteesnow$325-million manufacturing facility$94-million replacement hospital$100-million jail expansion$112-million school of dentistryBoeing



TwitterIs our ugly past behind us? As the Blues Traveler song "But Anyway" says, of course it is.   (Go ahead and if you'd like.)Of course, the particular past I'm talking about is that long, downward slide that the Southeast's -- and nation's -- construction economy has been enduring for the past several years now. And, all kidding aside, it certainly isn't truly behind us, especially considering the for construction, which in February climbed past a staggering 27%.At the same time, there have been a few positive signs lately, as tentative and speculative as they might be. For instance, in January, three of the region's four states posted positive numbers in the overall value of new construction contracts signed during the month. experienced a 9% increase; 's overall uptick was 19%; and saw a 22% overall gain.Not bad numbers, considering the recent past -- though the nonresidential market was mostly nothing to write home about in any of the four states. The nonbuilding sector, which includes infrastructure projects -- the ones being boosted at least temporarily by the federal stimulus -- was one of the strongest across the board, and the previously flat-lining residential market showed strong percentage gains, too. Overall, these early trends mirror the Southeast's general , but obviously it's still too early to tell. (And, despite the nice sound of these January numbers, they may only represent that the bottom was actually reached in 2009 - not boom times ahead.)More somewhat-positive signs can be found in recent headlines. A moves ahead in Tampa. A  theme park developer starts building . A  proceeds in Delray Beach. The Boston Red Sox announce plans for a in Fort Myers. Florida wins -- and then rail advocates report strong interest in a for HSR. A Georgia firm follows up with a proposal to build a to link the two rail lines coming to Orlando.Outside of Florida, it's more of the same. President Obama announces for construction of new nuclear facilities in Georgia. Meanwhile, starting in Georgia: a ; a ; a ; and a , to name a few. And let's not forget about that big project in South Carolina.Taken together, this market  a little different than "condo, condo, condo," doesn't it? And maybe it's a sign of the future -- a market that's much different, and arguably more demanding, than the easy-come days of our recent past. Who knows? We'll all see in due time.So, what do think? Are we finally starting to put these ugly days behind us? Is the future beginning to look bright again? Or is it still too dark to tell? Let me hear your thoughts.